An East Asian dessert tea craze has helped an Aberdeenshire family ice cream producer reach record sales.
Mackie’s of Scotland passed the £15 million mark for sales for the first time – all thanks to its ice cream being used in the popular Bubble Tea and other hot drinks.
The firm experienced growth of more than 100% in export sales to East Asia as a result.
Bubble Tea is a fashionable sweet drink mixed with small starch or fruit balls.
Ivan Jefford head of export sales at Mackie’s said: “Ice cream is being used as a substitute for the milk or cream we’d add here in the UK.
“Our traditional ice cream, which has no vanilla, has the right fresh milky, creamy notes to suit this new market demand. It can then be mixed with various other flavours – it’s a bit like a ice cream milkshake.”
Mackie’s of Scotland experienced the rise from £12.7 million in 2017 to 18 to £15.4m in 2018/19. Its one litre tubs have propelled into the position of fourth bestselling premium ice cream product in the UK with volume sales up 24%.
The Aberdeenshire-based business is now focusing on putting its profits back into the growth of its business, having invested in a rotary filler that will help it keep up with demand for the range of its mini tubs, as well as the hiring 19 new members of staff, taking its employee count to 89.
A £4 million project, Mackie’s is also replacing all its existing freezing equipment with low carbon, power efficient units run on ammonia – a natural refrigerant gas that poses no threat to the environment – as it strives to be the greenest company in Britain.
Stuart Common, sales director at Mackie’s of Scotland said: “We’re certainly not one of the giant ice cream producers, so competition can be tough.
Mackie’s Rotary Filler
“But thanks to continued support for our traditional recipe that we make on the family farm here in Scotland, and the relationships we’re building in East Asia as they get a taste for our product, we’ve had some great successes.
“It’s fantastic to see the team grow with the business, too, as we take on staff at every level of the business to help us meet our aims.”
Mackie’s recent diversification into chocolate has also helped boost profits as the company secures key supermarket listings.
Stuart added: “Last year was a big year for us and we’re chuffed to see all our hard work pay off.”
Mackie’s produces over 10 million litres of ice cream every year using more than 70% renewable energy thanks to its Aberdeenshire farm’s wind turbines and solar panels.
The fourth-generation family farm, Westertown, situated close to Inverurie, started producing ice cream in 1986 and still produce it all on the farm site, using fresh milk and cream from their own herd.