By Cara Sulieman
THE SCOTTISH Government is dishing out £400,000 in grant money to help haggis makers Macsween invade England’s dinner tables.
The cash – for a new packing facility – will see the company up its exports south after a surge in interest for so called stealth foods like haggis pakora, haggis pies and even haggis lasagne.
And with most of the supermarkets and independent shops across the UK now stocking the Edinburgh produce, Macsween is struggling to keep up with demand.
To cope they will be building a new packing plant and employing 12 new members of staff to up production of the tasty treat.
A spokesman for the company said that the increase in demand was down to the surge in year round sales from south of the border.
He said: “Macsween are selling more products outside of Scotland and outside of the January Burns night rush.
“It’s being used as a flexible ingredient rather than a novelty food – it’s being used in lasagne, pakora and pies amongst other things.
“And supermarkets are selling it year round in their English stores, allowing people to try it out on a day to day basis.”
The grant comes from the National Food Processing and Co-operation Grant Scheme, which is run by the Scottish Government as part of their rural development scheme.
As well as being commercially viable, the companies that go for the award have environmentally sound as well.
Macsween have reduced their waste, water use and carbon emissions in an effort to become sustainable in the long run.
James Macsween said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has seen fit to award us this grant, worth some 30% of our total project costs to expand our manufacturing facility in Edinburgh.
“This will really help us to meet the growing, all year demand for our haggis from discerning customers throughout the UK, who value its quality and taste.
“We will also be creating 12 jobs within the year as this facility will allow us to take on more business with new and existing customers.”
Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary, said that the award of the grant to Macsween is beneficial to the whole country.
He said: “Macsween is one of our most popular brands and the substantial financial support we are providing will be used to upgrade their premises, create a dozen new jobs and help them meet increasing demand for their delicious haggis across the UK.
“Their reputation for top quality produce is matched by their environmental credentials.
“Scotland is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest producers of quality food and our this grants scheme is a major success story.
“This latest round of funding takes the total number of jobs created and safeguarded by the scheme to over 3,000 in less than a year, and many of these are in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
“I continue to be impressed with the innovative, high-quality ideas which have been put forward for funding.
“Supporting Scottish food and companies like Macsween is in our national interest and this funding will help our food businesses grow and flourish.”