Turnover at the family-owned business increased by 11% to £18.5m, up from £16.7m. Operating profit rose by 19% to £4.1m (compared to £3.4 million), according to annual accounts to the year ending 31 May 2021.
England and Wales had driven 40% growth in premium ice cream sales according to the company. Breakthrough second and third listings of its ice cream range had proved popular in major grocery retail stores, including Sainsbury’s, Asda, the Co-op and Marks & Spencer.
Mackie's said its growth had followed a year of investment in the brand with new packaging, new website and digital advertising campaigns throughout the year.
Chocolate bars and renewable energy
Its range of chocolate bars had enjoyed a significant 15% uplift in UK sales. It also generated income from its investment into renewable energy, which delivers surplus energy into the grid and comprises a 7,000 panel solar farm, four large-scale wind turbines at its Westertown Farm base as well as a biomass plant.
During the year, Mackie’s said it had continued to invest in its biggest ever project: a £4.5m innovative low-carbon refrigeration facility. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure transition programme, it is due to complete this spring. The unit should enable a reduction in energy use of up to 80%, contributing to the company’s objective of being 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy, said the ice cream maker.
“Against a backdrop of the pandemic’s impact on consumer confidence and rising production costs, we are very pleased to have delivered a robust performance and positive financial results which show steady growth for the eighth consecutive year," said Mac Mackie, managing director and one of three family owners at Mackie’s.
“Our focus for the current year will be to build on the improvements that we have made to our production plant and systems to deliver increased output volume, improved quality, and greater cost control and efficiency throughout the business."
The company plans to launch two new flavours this year while improving efficiency and returns. Product development trialling innovative new flavours and product formats was underway for the 2023 market.
“For the current trading year, sales to our major retailers remains strong, but overall company performance will be affected due to continuing cost increases, and profit is forecast to be lower than in 2020/21," he added.
A focus on further export growth in Asia, assisted by improved product ranges would help counter increased production costs.
New refrigeration system
Mackie added: “We have identified how important quality of product is to our customers and consumers and further investment in new freezers and our new refrigeration system not only improves our environmental credentials but has also been proven to improve the quality of our ice creams.
“Other investments in renewable energy and animal welfare underlines our commitment to sustainability and helps ensure the longevity of what is now a fifth-generation family business for future generations of family, staff and customers.”