Stag Bakeries, based in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, continues to show that an island location is no barrier to ambition by attracting interest from across the globe.
Over the last three years the company has become known within speciality food circles as a brand associated with quality and integrity. It has since invested in additional marketing activity and equipment, as well as completing a re-branding exercise which will give its products a new look in order to attract additional export business.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Development International (SDI) assisted Stag with financial support toward project costs. Also, a range of specialist advice on marketing, branding and packaging has been provided through HIE together with advice and guidance from the Food and Health Innovation Service which has provided a strong foundation for the next stage in growth of the business.
The company, which is an island bakery, makes a range of bakery and confectionery products for its loyal, local customers but also makes a range of sweet and savoury biscuits for off island markets. For example, last year it established export business in China, and despite the challenges of the wider UK economy, Stag aims to increase its export business as this is where new business growth prospects lie. As its biscuit range has a good shelf life its products are ideal for export markets.
General Manager Alasdair Maclean explains: "Customer feedback was telling us that our packaging was very Scottish in its design and had some limitations. In order to have a wider export appeal that reflected the premium nature of our products we needed to revamp it. We are delighted with the new look which has involved a great deal of planning. Having shown a number of our current and prospective customers, they are blown away and very impressed. We have come a long way from when the company used to pack product in peat bags. I would like to thank HIE and SDI for their support which will undoubtedly help us to take the next step."
HIE's Anne Macaulay commented: "Stag Bakeries is one of the many businesses HIE has supported to develop international trade activity over the past year and is a good example of collaborative working between a range of partners. This support for ambitious businesses like Stag Bakeries is making a real difference to achieving growth aspirations, despite the economic climate, and in the coming year we will continue to maximise the unique strengths the Outer Hebrides has to ensure continued sustainable economic growth in the area."
The company is now actively working on its export targets and should be making some further announcements over the next few months. There are plans to introduce some new products later in the year which reflect its commitment to innovation and product development and excite consumers.
"It's part of our remit to help companies with strong export potential to realise it," said Anne MacColl, Chief Executive of Scottish Development International. "Stag is a great example of just such a business - they recognised the export opportunities open to them and acted on them to expand their business.
"It shows very clearly that the size or location of your company isn't a barrier to entering the global marketplace, and demonstrates the value of the services organisations like SDI and HIE provide."