fb

£2.5 billion but can you have your cake and eat it?

£2.5 billion but can you have your cake and eat it?

On Monday it was reported that China’s Bright Food Group was investigating the potential purchase of Britain’s United Biscuits for up to £2.5 billion.

Whilst on the face of it one food company buying another food company isn’t that exciting it does raise some interesting points.

Importantly, it also makes you think of whether Jaffa Cakes are in fact biscuits rather than cakes…

First of all though in classic Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage of Nations terms then particular countries are considered to be strong in certain industries.

Germany for example is renowned for the production of high powered cars such as Audi, BMW and Porsche. Japan is a world leader in high tech cameras such as Canon, Nikon and Pentax.

Britain on the other hand is a powerhouse in the production of biscuits. After all, who needs luxury cars and high tech cameras when you can have a lovely cup of tea with a nice biscuit or two?

Secondly, the fact that another company from a so called emerging market is now potentially making a significant acquisition of a company in a more developed market sends an interesting signal about the current trend of globalisation.

Both these points are all very well and good but what’s this all about a biscuit or cake discussion?

United Biscuits produce some household name products including McVitie’s biscuits, Hula Hoops and Twiglets. They also produce Jaffa Cakes.

Jaffa Cakes were the subject of an infamous tax case a few years ago. To cut a long story short the debate was whether a Jaffa Cake was a cake (considered to be a basic foodstuff and hence not liable to VAT) or a chocolate covered biscuit (considered to be a luxury food product and hence liable for lots of VAT).

So, how on earth can you decide whether a food product is a cake or a biscuit?

The deciding factor was that when a cake is left to go stale it gets hard whereas when a biscuit is left to go stale it goes soft.

The argument went to a VAT tribunal (which is in effect a type of Court) and as part of the evidence put forward a 30cm Jaffa Cake was baked and left to go stale (and hard) so as to convince the tribunal that it was in fact a cake.

The final result was that Jaffa Cakes are indeed cakes so you can now have your cake and eat it (VAT free).

Share this entry

Recent articles

View All Articles
You or your boss?
Jun 13, 2024
Title
You or your boss?
Excerpt

So, should you do it or should your boss do it? I’m talking about making decisions and the […]

A takeaway or a fakeaway?
Jun 06, 2024
Title
A takeaway or a fakeaway?
Excerpt

In the final run up to your professional exams it’s often a case of cramming your final revision […]

Peloton’s ride from pandemic peak to rental rebounds
May 30, 2024
Title
Peloton’s ride from pandemic peak to rental rebounds
Excerpt

Whilst home exercise bikes can be a great way to get fit, a lot of people who buy […]

Big 4 under the spotlight…
May 22, 2024
Title
Big 4 under the spotlight…
Excerpt

Recent findings have shown that Britain’s audit firms did not raise alarms for three-quarters of the major companies […]

Better than the professionals?
May 13, 2024
Title
Better than the professionals?
Excerpt

The landscape of investing is evolving, with the rise of retail, or “do-it-yourself” (DIY) investors who are achieving […]

Don’t get angry over anger management
May 07, 2024
Title
Don’t get angry over anger management
Excerpt

Have you ever been angry at work? If you have then you are not alone. The latest Global […]

Cows or dogs in your portfolio?
May 01, 2024
Title
Cows or dogs in your portfolio?
Excerpt

As well as being included in ACCA, CIMA and CMA (USA) exam questions over the years, the Boston […]

KPMG unlocks previously locked up talent.
Apr 30, 2024
Title
KPMG unlocks previously locked up talent.
Excerpt

KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, has recently announced its commitment to expanding its hiring of […]