A small Scottish bakery based on the island of Mull which began as a local bread baker is reaching new markets, with a new contract with Marks & Spencer and increasing overseas orders for its range of organic biscuits.
Island Bakery Organics was formed by Joe and Dawn Reade in Tobermory, Mull, in 1994 with the assistance of The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust.
Last week, the business hosted the Chairman, Lorne Crerar, and Chief Executive, Alex Paterson, of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), as part of a wider series of meetings with business and community leaders on the island.
Island Bakery Organics began as a wholesale provider of bread to the island, alongside the family dairy which also supplied milk to the islanders' doorsteps. In 2001, Joe and Dawn decided to expand the bakery to sell products outside of Mull.
This expansion involved the creation of a line of organic, handmade biscuits. By 2005, the sale of biscuits had overtaken the rest of the business, and Island Bakery Organics sold the bread bakery and instead focused on their award-winning treats.
The Bakery's core products are a range of six sweet organic biscuits: Lemon Melts, Chocolate Gingers, Oat Crumbles, Apple Crumbles, Shortbread and Chocolate Limes.
The new purpose-built manufacturing bakery that they have recently completed just outside Tobermory is a world-first for its use of local renewable energy. Not only is all of its electrical energy generated by a small hydro-electric turbine on the local river, but their novel ovens are also fired by woodchip from Mull's extensive timber plantations.
HIE has worked with the business since the beginning, offering specialist advice on marketing and achieving Marks & Spencer quality standards.
Joe Reade commented: "We were delighted to be able to show our new bakery to HIE's management last Tuesday, and demonstrate what their invaluable assistance had helped to create. We're looking forward to the next few years, with plenty of new challenges and new products."
Douglas Cowan, HIE's Area Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: "Island Bakery is producing an excellent product and it is easy to see why the biscuits are appealing to major retailers and international buyers. We are pleased to help the business grow and achieve its ambitions."
Professor Crerar and Mr Paterson had a number of business and community meetings while on Mull.These included Tobermory Fish Company, Inverlussa Shellfish, Tobermory Harbour Association and Mull Theatre. They also took the opportunity to meet various active community groups on the island which are undertaking a number of innovative projects. These included discussions with two Local Development Officers, Morven Gibson and Cally Fleming, whose posts with the Mull and Iona Community Trust are part-funded by HIE and LEADER.