Who doesn’t like a bit of cake? They do at Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, and they’ve noticed a few trends in the category. “We've seen a return of the éclair and afternoon tea is something we’ve started to celebrate once more,” according to Grace Binchy, consumer insights specialist for the organisation whose remit is to develop markets for Irish food and drink.

Alongside that element of tradition, she highlighted “cake as art” and unusual flavour merging, such as beetroot with chocolate, as well as a desire for fewer, more natural, ingredients and fresher cakes, all of which present a challenge in the ambient cake category.

And it was this area that Bord Bia is interested in - finding “opportunity spaces” for businesses both small and large as part of its mission to grow the nation’s food and drink exports from €12.6 billion in 2017 to €20 billion by 2025.

Prepackaged “ambient” cake has a long shelf life and differs from the fresh cakes found in the bakery or in the chiller cabinet - or even those found in the freezer cabinet - in more ways than just distribution and positioning. Fresh cakes speak of indulgence, celebration, togetherness and nostalgia, Chris Molloy, chief client officer for brand consultancy Brand Potential, told the Market Research Summit (London, May 2018) - emotions that aren’t evoked in consumers by ambient cakes.