Rise of convenience food sees Kraft sell off ailing brands

LONDON - Famous British dessert brands of another age, Angel Delight, Dream Topping and Bird's Custard, have been put up for sale by US owner Kraft Foods due to product streamlining and changing food fashions.

The three brands are all well known to British consumers, but lack the international profile that provides Kraft with economies of scale in sales and marketing.

In addition, their image is dated compared with other brands, which have more of a convenience and healthy appeal element to them, suiting modern lifestyles and changing tastes.

Industry experts are speculating that the brands could be picked up by a smaller company at a lower price than Kraft paid for them. One analyst said: "Their value is more sentimental than economic."

Premier Foods, which bought the Ambrosia dessert brand from Unilever last year, and another possible buyer, Associated British Foods, refused to comment on whether they were intending to purchase the brands.

Kraft said: "We never comment on speculation regarding mergers, acquisitions and divestitures."

Despite the changing attitudes, Bird's Custard remains the top seller in its market and comes with a 167-year heritage, having been developed in 1837 by chemist Alfred Bird.

Dream Topping and Angel Delight, which were launched in the 1960s, were also part of the Bird's brand.

Angel Delight, which was made by mixing with milk and then chilling in the fridge, became a favourite with children in the 1960s and 1970s.

Kraft bought the brand from General Foods, which last relaunched it in 1984.

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