U.K.-based celebrity chefs, cooking show presenters, and especially bakers have been at the center of a number of licensing, collaboration, and representation deals, and/or new products or promotions, over the past few weeks:
- Jane Devonshire, a past MasterChef winner who is known for her gluten-free cooking and cookbooks, retained Start Licensing as her agent for consumer product extensions. Plans include a heavy emphasis on foods, especially of the gluten-free variety. Start also represents Nadiya Hussain, a former contestant on the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), cookbook author, and cooking and travel show host, who lent her name to children’s baking and cooking utensils with Wilton Bradley in December. She has had a home goods array with BlissHome since November 2018 consisting of spice racks, aprons, egg cups, tea towels, and more.
- Prue Leith, one of the current co-hosts of GBBO, launched a cookware line at retailer Lakeland (which also has an array of bakeware, gadgets, and appliances with former GBBO co-host Mary Berry). The range, under the brand name Prue’s World, is inspired by her global culinary travels. Leith also developed a range of recipes for the retailer.
- Kim-Joy, another former GBBO contestant, has paired with Millimages and its agency Licensing Link U.K. for a how-to video with instructions on making cookies decorated with Millimages’ kawaii character Molang. The baker is judging a contest for fans who make the recipe at home, and Kim-Joy x Molang GIFs are available for social networking use.
- Jane Asher, an actress, author, and baking expert, launched a baking kit with Home Bargains, her exclusive retail partner for baking mixes, frostings, and ingredients; bakeware, gadgets, and accessories; and tableware. The kits, created for the COVID lockdown, included all the gadgets, tins, pre-made mixes, and frostings needed to create a batch of six different baked goods. Before signing with Home Bargains in 2018, Asher had an exclusive deal, announced in 2013, with retailer Poundland for a range of bakeware and accessories.
As in the U.S., U.K. consumers during the coronavirus shutdown have been increasing both their time spent baking and their time watching TV shows on various platforms. So these pairings make particular sense at this time. It should also be remembered that Britain has a strong tradition of baking, as well as of licensed product lines featuring celebrity bakers and chefs. These deals represent the latest additions to that list.