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Industry Food
Genre Ice Cream
Founded 1912
Founder Maitland Mackie
Headquarters Westertown, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Key people
Karin, Kirstin and Mac Mackie
Products ice cream, chocolate, crisps and ice

Mackie's is a Scottish family business based in Westertown, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire. It was founded in 1912.

Mackie’s is a pioneering family business from Aberdeenshire which has diversified from their dairy farm into making ice cream, crisps and most recently chocolate – all under the “Mackie’s of Scotland” brand. The company’s vision is to become a Scottish global brand from the greenest company in Britain created by people having fun. The famous ice cream and most recently chocolate, are produced on the family’s renewable energy powered dairy farm in Aberdeenshire. And in 2009, Mackie’s of Scotland joined forces with the Taylor family of Perthshire, potato growers and processors, to form Mackie’s at Taypack and launch Mackie’s Crisps. Since this partnership was formed, Mackie’s profits have continued to rise, with the sister companies aiming to achieve £20m turnover in each business by 2020.

Mackie’s ice cream

Mackie’s of Scotland is a vertically integrated, fourth generation family business which has been farming at Westertown, Aberdeenshire since 1912 and making ice cream in a ‘sky to scoop’ chain since 1986. The vertically integrated 1500 acre arable farm supports a 450 cow dairy herd which supplies fresh cream and milk for their real dairy ice cream. Mackie's now produce over 11 million litres of ice cream per annum in several tub sizes for both retail and food services markets and also make their own plastic packaging on the farm. 61 staff, with an average tenure over 12 years, work for the company. Mackie's ‘real’ dairy ice cream is well established as the no.1 premium ice cream in Scotland and founded on the continued success of Traditional, Mackie’s first and most popular natural creamy ice cream flavour. Mackie’s second most popular flavour is Honeycomb - Traditional ice cream flavoured with pieces of Honeycomb puff candy - now also made by Mackie’s in a ‘sweetie kitchen’ on the farm. Mackie’s latest retail flavours are Salted Caramel and a White Chocolate & Coconut and promise a further three new flavours for 2016.

Mackie’s Crisps and the snacking market

Since diversifying into potato crisps in 2009 – through a joint venture with Perthshire-based Taypack – Mackie’s has also gained a firm foothold in the UK snacking category. Despite the crisps market as a whole declining year-on-year, Mackie’s Crisps actually increased its UK sales by 70% between 2014 and 2015 (IRI 52 w/e 28 Feb 15). Furthermore, the crisps business has transformed Mackie’s of Scotland into a global brand, with products now available in around 15 markets worldwide, including China, Canada and Singapore. Mackie’s at Taypack’s Managing Director, George Taylor, credits the brand’s commitment to authenticity and realness for its continued growth within the increasingly competitive snacking market: “Consumers want real products, made by real people, using real ingredients. We have harnessed the consumer desire for genuine and trustworthy brands by staying true to our heritage and connecting with consumers through our ‘real’ values.”

With the crisps business continuing to grow, Mackie’s is now turning attention to other snacking products in order to add further value to its portfolio and drive incremental sales within the category; the company has recently announced that it will launch a range of Mackie’s Popcorn in January 2016. Commenting on the new range, George Taylor explains: “The snacking market has evolved significantly in recent years and we are mindful of the importance of continuous innovation to tap into emerging trends.

“With our new range of popcorn, we aim to broaden the appeal of Mackie’s snacking offering. The range offers consumers a healthier treat from a brand they know and love. The seasonings – which include Scotch Bonnet Chilli Pepper and Butterscotch – have been inspired by the Mackie’s crisps and ice cream products, which are renowned for their unique and interesting flavours.”

Mackie’s chocolate and unveiling of new state-of-the-art chocolate factory

From Spring 2016, Mackie’s new range of chocolate bars will be produced in a new £600,000 chocolate factory on the Aberdeenshire farm with capacity to make over 5 million bars per year. Kirstin Mackie explains “We are looking forward to moving Mackie’s chocolate production to the farm – we make chocolate from the cocoa liquor stage, to our own recipe with the full refining, conching and tempering processes all done here to our specification. We will be able to use our own chocolate in our ice cream and to create new flavours, different bar sizes and new products to extend our confectionery offer.” The current range of 100g Dark and Milk Chocolate bars include Traditional and Honeycomb and 70% Dark and Mint flavours. Several new flavours are already under development with planned addition of one further with involvement of the public in an online campaign.

Mackie’s green credentials

As well as being one of Scotland’s most loved family brands, Mackie’s of Scotland also punches above its weight as one of the greenest company’s in the country, utilising wind energy and solar power to drive operations at the family farm in Aberdeenshire. In September this year, their solar panel farm became the biggest in the country, with installation of almost 7,000 Solar PV panels delivering a capacity of 1.8MW and generating the equivalent amount of energy required for Mackie’s to make 4 million litres of ice cream.

Mac Mackie, Managing Director of Mackie’s of Scotland said: “One of our goals is to be self-sufficient in renewable energy. A mix of different types of renewable energy makes great sense because they can produce peaks at different times. The wind turbines typically produce more power over winter months and the night, while the Solar panels obviously produce more electricity in the spring and summer. It does seem perfect for an ice cream company to be reliant on the sun in more ways than one!”

Mackie’s renewable energy facts:

• The new Solar panel farm will generate electricity equivalent to the amount required for Mackie’s to make 4 million litres of ice cream

• Mackie’s new Solar panel farm of 10 acres is approximately the area covered by five football pitches

• Absolute installed 6912 panels each with 260W capacity using over 70,000 m of DC cable

• The new Solar farm capacity of 1.8 MW is enough to power 375 homes. (with average usage of 4000kWh pa )

• Mackie’s first small array of Solar panels (174kW) were installed in 2012 with on the byre roof, providing energy for the byre and milking robots

• To date, Mackie’s primary source of renewable energy has been wind power, which provides up to 70% of the farm’s energy demand. The new fourth wind turbine will bring the total wind power up to 3.0MW capacity.

• Mackie’s worked with Absolute on the successful instalment of its 400 kW biomass plants earlier this year, which now provides the energy for directly heating the office and staff housing.

• Mackie’s is considering additional use of the biomass power for a new greenhouse for the production of other key flavour ingredients such as ginger.

Mackie’s History

Mackie’s is a farming and food business, currently owned by siblings Karin, Mac and Kirstin Mackie who each have Senior Management positions in the business. Mackie’s have been farming much of the 690 hectares of land at Westertown farm since the turn of the century.

This is a fourth generation family business with a five generation tradition of first sons called Maitland Mackie;

Doctor Maitland Mackie of North Ythsie, Tarves (1884-1975) Sir Maitland (Mike) Mackie, Westertown (1912-1996) Doctor Maitland Mackie CBE - Chairman (1937 – 2014) Maitland (Mac) Mackie - Managing Director Maitland (Mike) Mackie - future career unknown

Each Maitland as an entrepreneurial innovator has, in his own way, contributed to the development of the business:

Doctor Maitland secured and delivered a substantial farm to each of his six children.

Sir Maitland was the first to diversify the developing dairy farm at Westertown into milk retailing in Huntly and Aberdeen. This activity was started in the late 30s and subsequently sold to form the core of Kennerty Farm Dairies in 1964.

Doctor, and recent Chairman Maitland restarted milk retailing with the purchase of several rural milk rounds in the late 60s. By 1994 the business had become a substantial milk processing/retailing business with a turnover of £12 million and employing 250 people. During the same period the area farmed doubled.

Under the present Managing Director Maitland (Mac), the company has consolidated the land base to the Westertown farm area, grown profitable ice cream sales to over 10 million litres per annum, diversified into production of ice, installed three wind turbines with another due in 2015, begun making the company’s own plastic packaging, created a joint venture company to make Mackie’s potato crisps, increased renewable energy production with installation of solar panels (with a further large solar panel farm installation on the hill underway in May 2015) and launched Mackie’s new range of Chocolate bars.

Mackie’s were a milk retail company. In 1986 a small investment in a real dairy ice cream manufacturing capability was made, to use the cream surpluses arising from the market shift to semi-skimmed milk. Mackie’s ice cream was first made in the mornings and sold in the area with a company van in the afternoon. Deep Freeze wholesale were the first listing and Mackie’s made it’s first appearance in a Fine Fare supermarket in Aberdeen.


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