Ahead of Burns Night later this month, crisps claiming a world-first take on Scotland’s national dish are hitting the shelves this week after its maker secured major listings in Scotland.
Mackie’s Crisps has secured a headline listing in all 96 Scottish branches of Sainsbury’s for its haggis, neeps and tatties variety – targeting £100,000 in retail sales. The flavour – produced in a limited run of 150,000 bags – will also be available in Aldi, Lidl and Scotmid, plus some independent retailers.
James Taylor, who works at the Perthshire-based Taypack business, which in 2009 launched a joint venture with Aberdeenshire’s Mackie’s of Scotland to create a crisp brand, said: “The supermarkets have embraced our vision of creating a convenient taste of Scotland’s most popular traditional meal."
The new flavour comes off the back of a 24-month period where Mackie’s Crisps has massively expanded its export business, with further contracts secured in China, Russia and Ukraine.
Taylor added: “We’re becoming well-known for embracing our Scottish roots and so it does seem the natural next step to do this reimagining of our own national dish.
“There is a lot of debate up here whether you should keep your haggis, neeps and tatties distinct on the plate – or whether you should have it all mixed up. In creating these crisps we’ve clearly gone for the latter.
“While we have responded to growing export demand, this flavour has been on the backburner. It’s been many years in the making... Who knows, we may even be able to expand the run to make it a permanent addition to our range.
“We’d also love to be able to sell bags abroad to some of our core markets in Asia and Eastern Europe, helping the wider world to experience the taste of haggis, neeps and tatties.”
Mackie's also said the product is made with entirely natural flavourings and high oleic sunflower oil.
Taylor is the fourth generation to work at the family farm – and is commercial director at Mackie’s at Taypack, which produces Mackie’s Crisps. He helps to run the family-owned business with his father, MD George Taylor.
Mackie’s Crisps' other flavours include haggis and cracked black pepper, and what it says is the world’s first pigs in blankets flavour.
The Mackie’s Crisps team were further convinced of launching the haggis, neeps and tatties flavour when a student, Aileen McColm, joined the Perthshire business in 2018 to shadow quality control manager Jamie McKell. She undertook a survey, with 350 respondents showing the flavour to be the favoured option for the target market.