AN ICONIC Scottish brand has invested a significant sum of money in new machinery that will help it meet increased demand driven by exports.
In a move to further reduce its carbon footprint, Mackie’s of Scotland has invested £250,000 in a state-of-the-art machine that will produce the lids for its two litre tubs on the same site where it makes its ice cream.
The ice cream producer, which made two million of the two litre tubs last year, will invest a further £50,000 on extending the factory to make room for the new equipment.
Mackie’s investment will ensure that the miles its packaging has to travel are minimal and will mean that all the components of the ice cream tubs are made on the family farm in Aberdeenshire.
Previously the tubs were shipped from Sweden to Aberdeen – a distance of 1750 miles, contributing to CO2 emissions. Now they have to travel just 200 metres to the moulding room.
Though a considerable investment, Mackie’s expects to see the new machinery pay for itself over the next five years.
Gerry Stephens, Finance Director at Mackie’s, said: “Our two litre tubs of Traditional are well established favourites in Scotland and are now becoming increasingly popular in East Asia.
“We do have a machine that makes our two litre tubs on site, but it had to alternate between moulds for making the tub and then the lid and it just couldn’t keep up.
“Previously we would buy our tubs in from Sweden, but keen to keep emissions low, we invested in our own kit in 2012.”
The new machinery will bring further benefits to the luxury ice cream producer too, as it will allow for more flexibility to make bespoke tubs, as well as bilingual labels for export markets.
It will also benefit the local area with the creation of new jobs on the farm – both in making packaging and producing ice cream.
Mackie’s announcement of its new lid machine comes shortly after the news of its £4million project to replace its old freezers with low carbon, power efficient units run on ammonia – a natural refrigerant gas that poses no threat to the environment.
Gerry added: “We want to be the greenest company in Britain and making sure that our machinery is efficient and right next door to our farm and ice cream factory is all part of that.
“We recycle cardboard and plastic wrapping here on the farm and always consider the life of the packaging we select for our products. Our tubs are made from a recyclable form of plastic, PP5, which is widely collected and makes tubs that are robust enough to reuse at home.
“We keep all the materials we use under review to seek the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way of packaging our ice cream.”
Westertown Farm, where Mackie’s makes its much-loved ice cream and chocolate, is already 80% powered by self-generated wind energy and solar power and boasts 0% water wastage.
Renewable energy is a cornerstone of Mackie’s success, with investment of £6.5million in on-site renewables and a diverse energy production that includes four wind turbines, a bio-mass energy plant and 10-acre solar farm.
Mackie’s “Sky to Scoop” ethos sees it harness the wind, land and cows to produce the fresh milk and power to make its dairy ice cream and chocolate.