Mackie’s faces down challenges to deliver turnover and profit spike

SCOTLAND’S largest ice cream producer has posted record revenues and profit despite the dual challenges of rising costs and Covid-lockdown restrictions.

Turnover at family-owned Mackie’s of Scotland increased by 11% to £18.5 million (up from £16.7 million) while operating profit rose by 19% to £4.1 million (compared to £3.4 million), according to annual accounts to the year ending 31 May 2021.

Growth in the UK premium ice cream market was spearheaded by a 40% increase in sales in England and Wales, with breakthrough second and third listings of its ice cream range proving popular in major superstores including Sainsbury’s, Asda, the Co-op and Marks & Spencer. The growth followed a year of investment in the brand with new packaging, new website and digital advertising campaigns throughout the year.

Mackie’s range of chocolate bars enjoyed a significant 15% uplift in UK sales, while Mackie’s generated income from its investment into renewable energy, which delivers surplus energy into the grid and comprises a 7000 panel solar farm, four large-scale wind turbines at the fourth-generation Westertown Farm as well as a biomass plant. 

Mackie family have been farming at Westertown farm since 1912 and Mackie’s of Scotland is now a well-known Scottish food brand. Mackie’s were formerly a milk retail company and in 1986 began making ice cream. (Photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

Mackie’s continued to invest in its biggest ever project – a £4.5 million innovative low carbon refrigeration facility. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure transition programme, it is due to complete this spring and should enable a reduction in energy use of up to 80%, contributing to the company’s objective of being 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy.

Mac Mackie, managing director and one of three family owners at Mackie’s, said: “Against a backdrop of the pandemic’s impact on consumer confidence and rising production costs, we are very pleased to have delivered a robust performance and positive financial results which show steady growth for the eighth consecutive year.

“Our focus for the current year will be to build on the improvements that we have made to our production plant and systems to deliver increased output volume, improved quality, and greater cost control and efficiency throughout the business.   

“The company continues to make Scotland’s favourite premium ice cream and plans to continue to grow the brand offering to our customers with two new flavours launching this year whilst improving efficiency and returns from all areas of the business. 

“For the current trading year, sales to our major retailers remains strong, but overall company performance will be affected due to continuing cost increases, and profit is forecast to be lower than in 2020/21.”

Ongoing product development trialling innovative new flavours and product formats is underway for the 2023 market. A focus on further export growth in Asia, assisted by improved product ranges will help to counter challenging times ahead due to increased production costs.

Mackie’s wind turbines surpass 100 million kWh milestone ONE of Scotland’s largest food and drink brands has generated more than one hundred gigawatt hours of renewable energy through its wind turbines. The climate positive family business, Mackie’s of Scotland, saw the meter on its three original turbines tick back to zero, after it had reached the 100 million kWh mark last month. Mackie’s had been generating power from its wind turbines since 2005, and has produced enough energy to supply 2,500 family homes with electricity for 10 years (1), or drive an electric car around the world more than 14,000 times (2).
Photo by Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

Mac added: “We have identified how important quality of product is to our customers and consumers and further investment in new freezers and our new refrigeration system not only improves our environmental credentials but has also been proven to improve the quality of our ice creams.

“Other investments in renewable energy and animal welfare underlines our commitment to sustainability and helps ensure the longevity of what is now a fifth-generation family business for future generations of family, staff and customers.”

A Real Living Wage employer, Mackie’s headcount has increased to 95, Staff numbers at the farm increased in order to cope with increased production (with nine more staff) while the staff team at Mackie’s 19.2 were almost halved to six due to less trading during the pandemic.

To find out more about Mackie’s, please visit: www.mackies.co.uk

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