Mackies Chocolate Orange Honeycomb ice cream

Mackie’s is planning two new flavours this year, with further innovation for 2023 in the pipeline

Scottish ice cream brand Mackie’s has delivered record sales and profits despite the challenges of lockdown and spiralling costs.

However, the family-owned firm admitted in newly filed accounts that continued inflationary pressures would stymie demand and reduce profitability in 2022.

Revenues at Mackie’s of Scotland rose 11% to £18.5m in the year ended 31 May 2021, with a 19% jump in pre-tax profits to £4.1m.

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 range proving popular in major supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-op and Marks & Spencer.

It followed a year of investment in the brand with new packaging, website and digital advertising campaigns throughout the year.

Mackie’s range of chocolate bars also enjoyed a 15% uplift in UK sales.

Despite the bumper year, prolonged Covid restrictions in Scotland reduced sales from foodservice customers and at its own ice cream parlour in Aberdeen, while ingredients and freight costs climbed higher.

Since the year end, input cost inflation has ramped up further, affecting transport, energy and ingredient prices.

Mackie’s said in its Companies House accounts that despite sales remaining strong in supermarkets, the overall group performance would be hit by cost increases and profit was forecast to be lower than 2020/21’s record level.

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 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.”

Mackie added the company would launch two new ice cream flavours this year and was trialling further innovation to hit the market in 2023.

There would also be a focus on further export growth in Asia, assisted by improved product ranges to help counter the challenging times ahead.

The group increased overseas sales to just more than £2.6m last year, a rise of 29%, compared with an 8% increase for its domestic business.

Mackie’s also generated increased income from its investment into renewable energy, which delivers surplus energy into the grid. About 70% of the business’ power comes from renewable sources on site at the fourth-generation Westertown Farm, including 7,000 solar panels, four large-scale wind turbines and a biomass plant.

A further £4.5m investment in a low carbon refrigeration facility is set to be finished by the spring and should deliver further reduction in energy use of up to 80% as the company pushes towards its goal to be 100% self-sufficient.

Mackie said: “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.”