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HIE investment helps Moray bakery cook up new international orders

30 August 2012

A family owned bakery in Forres plans to significantly increase its turnover after expanding into new international markets.

Maclean's Highland Bakery has recently increased its turnover to over £3m and plans to boost it again over the next three years. Part of this drive will include taking on around 15 new employees to add to its current team of 130.

The bakery is taking orders from as far away as Australia, USA, and China and is investing in new machinery and product lines to further boost export sales.

An investment of £365,000 is planned towards the developments which include new equipment, marketing, and creating additional new products. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is contributing £95,000 towards these ambitious plans which Maclean's Highland Bakery says it will allow it to keep up with the high level of demand for existing produce and to develop a new range of premium goods, nationally and internationally.

The Maclean family business was established in 1978. Since taking over the reins from their parents, brothers Lewis and Ronald, and sister Carol have expanded the business with an emphasis on trading internationally. This has ultimately led to considerable sales around the world. The business is currently focusing on exporting to the Far East, an area with a great deal of interest in their products. Maclean's Highlands Bakery regularly exhibits at international trade shows in Shanghai, Cologne, and New York and it hopes to build on the great reputation in Scotland and have additional trips to Japan in November to further boost sales.

Lewis's great grandfather established the Maclean's Bakery in the Isle of Lewis and today the present generation continues the family skills turning traditional baking into award winning quality. The bakery own five retail outlets, three in Forres, one in Nairn and one in Grantown each offering a selection of varied bakery goods.

Over the seven years, HIE has provided advice and information as well as financial assistance in order to maximise opportunities for the bakery and to identify new international markets which significantly increase sales turnover. They have also been working with Scottish Development International to target exporting as a key area for growing the business which includes taking part in international strategy workshops.

Mandy Holmes, development manager at HIE, said: "The company is innovative and ambitious in its approach to providing products to a range of customers nationally and internationally. Our role is to continue to help develop the company and provide quality jobs in Moray. We are working closely with them looking at all aspects of their work which help them grow, from manufacturing, to product development, to marketing and distribution. HIE's investment will allow the company to keep up with the high level of demand for existing produce and to develop a new range of premium goods, as well as to create quality jobs in the area."

Lewis Maclean who is a World Scotch Pie Champion, said: "We are delighted to have the ongoing support of HIE which has shared our ambitions to grow at every stage. The new machinery, brand development and trade fair attendance are all part of our growth plan which will allow the company to expand as new opportunities arise, a key element of this is increasing our export sales and developing new premium products. This expansion in activity will put us in a great position to explore further new markets as well as introduce some new additions to our range."

The company recently expanded and diversified into new market areas such as the gift and premium food markets. In particular Maclean's Highland Bakery has developed a premium range of biscuits called "Land of MacBeth", which come in four varieties of Crofter's Oatcakes, Ginger Perkins, Highland Crunch and Traditional Shortbread.

Maclean's Highland Bakery currently employs eight young, enthusiastic apprentices - four working for apprenticeships in Food Manufacture and Retail Services and four working in Food Manufacture Specialist Management Skills.


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