MAJOR contracts for its chocolate have combined with a market shift towards premium ice cream to help a much-loved Scottish confectionary brand achieve continued growth and increased profit.
Aberdeenshire based Mackie’s of Scotland reported a turnover in year ended 31 May 2016 of £12.2 million – up from £11.4 million in 2015 – as the firm marked its 30th anniversary of making ice cream.
The firm has seen successful growth of its chocolate range, now made in a custom-built factory on the farm as part of a £1 million investment in new equipment.
Gerry Stephens, Finance Director, said: “Contracts with Co-op, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have ensured a 74 per cent increase in chocolate and vegan friendly drinkable cocoa powders sales which is in line with our forecasts and target to reach £4 million sales in chocolate by 2020.
“The growth also means that we’ve been able to grow staff numbers to a total of 71 with 5 new jobs in production.”
The family firm has an 8% share of the UK wide market for all take home premium ice cream with over 50% of the company’s sales outwith Scotland.
Further afield, exports around the globe account for 7% of the company sales, including customers in Australia, South Korea, Canada and Dubai and this sector increased by 30%.
Operating profits are up marginally to £1.24million, a result of increased sales in both branded and own-label products along with the export sales growth in new markets.
One of three sibling owners and Managing Director at Mackie’s of Scotland, Mac Mackie, said: “We have made progress in every part of the business. Our 30th birthday has resulted in another profitable year.
“This has been invested in new equipment for making tubs to help cut our footprint further, the new chocolate factory and our commitment to renewable energy.
“We are confident that our programme of continued re-investment will lead to the chocolate becoming established as another of the country’s favourite treats and as an attractive product for our export customers.
“New Product Development remains absolutely intrinsic to the Mackie’s brand – and the coming months will see us introducing new sized chocolate bars and new flavours across our ranges as customers increasingly look to try new combinations.”
On top of heavy investment in their chocolate factory, a fourth wind turbine and 1.8MW solar farm have also seen Mackie’s move towards their goal to become 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy.
The company is now 70% powered by its own electricity from Wind, Solar and Biomass energy and surplus energy is sold to the 100% renewable energy provider Good Energy.
The family business is now preparing for the year ahead and its first foray into retail, as it takes a space at the Marischal Square development in Aberdeen city centre. Due to launch in August, the ice cream parlour and coffee shop will see the family firm open its first direct sales point as it continues to expand its portfolio.
Mac added: “My father, Maitland Mackie, founded the ice cream business with a clear culture of development and progress or “no change, no chance”. This led to the construction of our four wind turbines and solar farm to become carbon-positive, as well as the development into new flavours, potato crisps and chocolate.
“This move into Marischal Square will continue that legacy into 2017 and beyond. It’s thanks to the continuing efforts of our 71 staff that we can continue to grow in a highly competitive market sector and which gives us the opportunities to take on a chance like the new ice cream parlour. We recognise this with a performance based bonus whereby all staff received an 8% of their real living wage salary.”
Having added a dedicated £600,000 chocolate factory to its Aberdeenshire home farm in 2015, Mackie’s has seen a surge in its more traditional and established products coincide with substantial new contracts for its chocolate.
Mackie’s has subsequently reached number nine in the top 10 Scottish food and drink brands[i], while further establishing itself as the biggest selling premium ice cream brand in Scotland, ahead of the likes of Ben and Jerry’s and Wall’s Carte D’or.
Data from Kantar Worldpanel has also shown that the the Scottish Premium ice cream market is growing ahead of the rest of the UK, increasing 3.2% in the last year. 67% of the Scottish population now buy premium ice cream. Informal dining out and coffee bars are also an increasing trend which the company hopes to be able to serve with an increased range of indulgent treats in the new parlour.
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