Newly-published accounts show that annual turnover rose by almost £500,000 as the company grabbed a greater slice of the domestic market. It also grew its export sales, finding strong demand for its dairy ice cream products in Taiwan and South Korea.
The firm’s chocolate bar range, which launched in autumn 2014 and offers four flavours, saw sales more than double thanks to supermarket listings with Sainsbury’s and Tesco and through a distributor based in Singapore.
Results for the year to the end of May reveal a pre-tax profit of almost £1.9 million, up from just over £860,500 in 2014. Sales grew to £11.6m.
While an easing in raw material costs and a one-off gain from an asset sale helped boost the bottom line, there was also a double-digit increase in operating profits at the family-run business, which dates back to 1912 and employs 66 staff.
As part of a £6m investment programme, the firm has developed a new chocolate factory on its farm and installed new ice cream machinery. It has also strengthened its green credentials, with the introduction of a fourth wind turbine along with the installation of almost 7,000 solar panels.
Managing director Mac Mackie said core sales in the current period were up nearly 10 per cent on a year earlier while it was likely that Korea and Taiwan between them would generate some £500,000 in turnover this year. The business is also eyeing a push into the Indian market.
Mackie said: “These results are extremely encouraging especially with the launch of our chocolate range. It shows that our investment in new product development, increased investment in our infrastructure, innovation, staff and renewables have helped continue the company’s growth.
“The profit announcement is also keenly watched by our staff – our staff bonus scheme is linked to target profits, and this year we are pleased to be able to pay 10 per cent on all salaries.”
Finance boss Gerry Stephens added: “The company growth in ice cream sales is the result of increased listings and the introduction of new flavours in the UK. Opportunities for ice cream in the export market have also been fruitful.”