Mackays Ready for Export Growth

International sales growth continued at Angus-based jams and preserves manufacturer Mackays last year.

Recently filed accounts for the firm show turnover dipped slightly from £18.9 million in 2018, to £18m for the year ending December 31, 2019 – a fall of 4.8%.

However, exports rose to 31% of turnover at £5.6m

Mackays said performance had been impacted by a significant increase in the wholesale price of sugar which had been partially recovered by improved customer pricing.

The company, which is based at Kirkton Industrial Estate in Arbroath, is one of the UK’s major jam, marmalade, preserve, chutney and relish producers and employs around 130 staff.

Trading under the Mrs Bridges and Mackays brands the firm exports to around 80 countries and continues to place a strong emphasis on brand development.

Mackays continues to eye expansion and previously leased adjoining premises and a second building to allow distribution and co-packing operations to be relocated into the new facilities.

The move has allowed the installation of further manufacturing capability and the expansion of the firms’ product range.

However, an overrun in finalising the project, combined with capital investment of more than £500,000 in equipment over the period saw Mackays record a pre-tax loss of £677,000.

Director Martin Grant said the expansion and investment, which totals around £2.5m between 2017 and 2019, saw the company well-placed for the future.

He said: “Raw material prices and fluctuations pre and post Brexit were issues for us and ensuring the continuity of supply of ingredients was more important than price which is the route we had to take impacted our bottom line in 2019 as well.”

Mr Grant said there had been concern about securing volumes of ingredients such as soft fruit in 2020, but around midway through the crop there was increasing confidence there was a sufficient supply of material.

He said: “Brexit has brought an additional administrative burden, but we knew that would be the case.

“We always look at what the opportunities are and we have the skill set to deal with international markets.

“That skill set will be able to administrate trading with the European Union as well as emerging markets as further trade deals are struck.”

“We’ve gone through a re-calibration process in the business, focusing on what we are good at and what we are known for.

“In 2020, what we have learned is we do have a very robust business and a powerful story that continues to be a success for us.

“We will double down on those really strong pillars for the business.

“The horizon looks good for us.”

Mackays is set to unveil new products over the next 24 months but will not be entering new product categories.

Mr Grant said the firm’s products were manufactured locally using local produce without additives, something the firm has been actively promoting through social media channels.

He said: “People are still enjoying jams and marmalades.

“They may not be eating it every day but customers continue to enjoy and appreciate a traditionally made, all natural product.”

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