Ice cream and chocolate manufacturer Mackie’s of Scotland has hailed record full-year figures after a strong domestic market and a surge in exports drove up sales.
The Aberdeenshire firm reported its highest annual turnover of £13.9 million for the 12 months to the end of May, representing a 13 per cent rise year-on-year.
Gross profits at the family-run firm exceeded £1.3m for the period.
The business cited a boost in ice cream sales across the UK and soaring exports to markets in the Far East as key drivers of growth, with combined turnover from ice cream and chocolate hitting a new high of £12.4m.
Export sales to the Far East rose 182 per cent to £1.1m, contributing 8 per cent to the firm’s total turnover.
However, chocolate only sales dropped by 19 per cent, with the business citing a focus on redevelopment, including “time spent on improving the product and packaging” and the introduction of a smaller 35g bar, for which it hopes to secure major listings in 2019.
Mackie’s also generated £1.1m in revenue from the production of renewable electricity at its 1,600-acre farm in Westertown, Inverurie.
However, overall costs were up by 22 per cent compared with the previous year, partly due to the continued high price of cream, which the firm is required to buy at peak times to supplement provisions from its own 330-strong cow herd.
Profits have been reinvested to extend production, with items such as a new packaging machine, as well as to fund the firm’s first retail venture, Aberdeen ice cream parlour Mackie’s 19.2.
Mac Mackie, managing director and one of three sibling owners, said: “The parlour provides a touch point with consumers in our local city and a great opportunity for feedback on potential new retail products.
“2018 was certainly a significant year for Mackie’s, with substantial growth in our export trade as well as developments closer to home.
“Our current financial year has started well with the hot summer months with growth continuing into 2019.”
Chocolate production continues to be a key avenue, the firm said, with sales and store listings on the rise in the UK and overseas since the year end.
Four flavours of chocolate are produced at a factory on the site of a former tractor shed at the fourth generation family farm.
The company also produces more than 70 per cent of the energy required for the business on-site and aims to be fully self-sufficient by the end of next year with the addition of solar and wind production.
Mackie added: “Over the last five years, Mackie’s have invested a further £3.9m in solar panels and a wind turbine. We are continuing with further investments on the site to make the ice cream production more energy efficient and to help our advances to become 100 per cent self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2020.
“We’re proud that the majority of our power is now generated on site, helping us to offset more carbon that we produce.”
The business, which employs 78 staff, creates its dairy products, packaging and chocolate products on-site.