GROWTH in chocolate sales and a developing taste for real dairy ice cream in the Far East have helped a much-loved Scottish confectionery brand to achieve further growth along with strong profits.
Following a busy twelve months that saw the family firm prepare to launch its first ice cream parlour in December 2017, Mackie’s of Scotland has reported an annual turnover of £12.2 million and gross profit of £953,896 (financial year ending 31 May 2017).
In total, the Aberdeenshire company’s turnover was up 1% on the previous year thanks in part to its chocolate range becoming further established – witnessing growth soar by 98%.
Mac Mackie, Managing Director at Mackie’s, said: “My father’s motto was always ‘no change, no chance’ – and that certainly sums up the past few years very nicely here at the farm.
“Not only has our ice cream become established in new markets, such as Korea and Taiwan, but we are making real developments south of the border – something that we hope we can continue to grow.
“A milestone moment has also been the launch of our first retail venture, our 19.2 parlour in Aberdeen’s celebrated Marischal Square, which is already helping us to develop new flavours and get instant feedback from customers.
Mackie’s export sales to markets in the Far East – predominately to Taiwan and Korea – are also up 19% on the previous year, and have set the company in good stead to deliver £1m in revenue in 2018.
Closer to home, the ice cream brand has experienced great success south of the border, too, with significant growth and the strengthening of its honeycomb flavour sales in Sainsbury’s – with the company’s UK wide market share growing to 6% according to Kantar Worldpanel.
Despite these developments, total turnover from ice cream sales was down 2% due mainly to the skyrocketing price of cream (up 250% in the year) causing the firm to hold back on some promotional activity.
Although Mackie’s is cushioned from the dairy market price hikes by producing almost all of the milk it needs from its own herd, it does still need to buy considerable volume of additional cream and warns that this is a cost which will continue to put pressure on ice cream sales.
The family firm’s latter year investment in solar panels, as the company aims to work towards self sufficiency in renewable energy with a mix of wind, solar and biomass is also reaping further benefits – with almost 70% of the energy used by Mackie’s comes from their own renewable energy sources, with surpluses sold on to a renewable energy provider.
The company’s net assets are up £1million, and its 330 milking cows, the working farm base being inextricably linked to the evolving business, are valued at more than £500k.
Mackie’s has also invested close to £500,000 in new equipment for the production of ice cream with new refiners and conches for chocolate and for the fitting out of their new ice cream parlour 19.2 in Aberdeen’s Marischal Square. The £954k operating profit has been reinvested in the company and ice cream parlour to provide future growth.
Mac added: “2017 year was certainly a year of evolution for the business – and we’ve invested large amounts into some very exciting new projects.
“Our 19.2 parlour will undoubtedly be a major focus for this year – and we’re hopeful that we can begin to look for the next Scottish site, and consider how to grow that part of the business further.”
Mackie’s is a real living wage employer and has staff numbers increased by two to 73 in the most recent financial year – and a new team of 12 staff have since been recruited for the new parlour.
Mackie’s ‘sky to scoop’ ethos sees them create everything, from their dairy products from their own herd to their packaging, on site. Their fourth generation family farm started producing ice cream in 1986.
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