Entering the chocolate bar market and a consumer shift towards premium ice cream has helped Mackie’s of Scotland boost sales by 7%.
Revenues in the year to 31 May 2016 increased to £12.2m, compared with £11.4m in the previous 12 months, as the business marked its 30th anniversary of making ice cream.
Mackie’s diversified the business, which dates back to 1912, with the launch of a four-strong chocolate bar range in autumn 2014, supplying Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Co-op. It also added a range of popcorn to its snacking portfolio in January 2016.
Finance director Gerry Stephens said chocolate sales had jumped 74% and were on target to reach £4m by 2020.
The £1m investment in a custom-built factory – on the Aberdeenshire farm where Mackie’s is based – led to five new jobs, taking total staff numbers to 71.
Mackie’s has also benefitted from the growth of the premium ice cream market in Scotland, where it sells more than the likes of Ben and Jerry’s and Wall’s Carte D’or, Stephens added.
The family firm has an 8% share of the UK wide market for all take-home premium ice cream, with more than 50% of the company’s sales outside Scotland.
Exports, which accounted for 7% of sales in 2016, continued to grow across the globe, with overseas trade up 30% last year.
Operating profits nudged up to £1.2m thanks to the higher sales in branded and own-label products, alongside the export growth in new markets, including Australia, South Korea, Canada and Dubai. Mackie’s paid its employees 8% of their salaries as part of the staff bonus scheme, which is linked to target profits.
“We have made progress in every part of the business,” said MD Mac Mackie, one of three sibling owners at 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 reinvestment 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.”
The business has also invested £2m in a fourth wind turbine as Mackie’s moves towards its goal to become 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy. It is now 70% powered by its own electricity from wind, solar and biomass energy and surplus energy is sold to renewable energy provider Good Energy.
“My father, Maitland Mackie, founded the ice cream business with a clear culture of development and progress, or ‘no change, no chance’,” Mackie added. “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.”
Mackie’s is preparing to open its first ice cream parlour and coffee shop in August this year as it continues to expand.