ANGUS Provost Ruth Leslie Melville believes that Mackays Ltd., in Arbroath is an inspiration to local businesses.
And for the future, the managing director, Paul Grant MBE, wants to do with marmalade and jams what Walkers has done with shortbread.
He stated: “By 2015 we want to double our exports and become a global marmalade company within 60 international markets. Amongst our plans we want to add a visitor attraction, incorporating a coffee shop in addition to the existing retail outlet.”
Last year Mackays won the business category at the Angus Ambassador Awards and now represents Angus as Business Ambassador.
The Provost explained: “Mackays is a leading manufacturer that takes the best of the area’s jam and marmalade-making traditions from the home kitchen and manufactures these on a large scale.
“These unique methods, combined with local ingredients, create a luxurious range of jams and preserves with a home made taste that put Angus on the international stage.
“Receiving the Business Ambassador Award was extremely special,” said Mr Grant as he showed the Provost, council leader, Bob Myles and head of economic development David Valentine, round the manufacturing unit at Kirkton in Arbroath. “It is wonderful to get this recognition from Angus, an area we will continue to heavily invest in.”
He believes Mackays key strength is being one of the few remaining jam manufacturers in Europe to still use the traditional ‘open pan’ method of jam-making which gives preserves and marmalades their delicious homemade taste. All the fruit is cooked fresh with most ingredients put in by hand apart from the sugar, to allow for flexible processing.
Mr Grant continued: “Authenticity is the heart of the brand value. Copper pans are used to make our products in the traditional way using the boiling method. Although this process is labour intensive, it gives the best taste. It also means we can employ more local people with 99% of employees living in Angus and employed for the full year, not seasonally.
“We are also committed to using local fruit wherever we can, it’s just a shame we can’t grow oranges locally!”
Since Mr Grant took over the business in 1995, it has grown considerably and currently employs 130 local people in new premises in Arbroath.
He continued: “Maintaining an Angus location has been a factor in Mackays sales strategy as the original home of jams and marmalades, easily accessible and low cost. Its location allows the company to combine traditions with highly competitive international market development plans which Angus benefits from.
“We have won a significant share of the international retail market and today export to 50 countries worldwide. Despite our continued growth, we still firmly believe in using local recipes and traditional processing to achieve the best possible taste for our worldwide customers.
“With 300 lines, it is necessary to have a flexible manufacturing process. For instance, labels are given a different look depending on which country they are being sent to, e.g. Japan has a tartan mopcap. Buyers can choose how they want the product labelled to best suit their individual markets. Additionally, we have a 48-hour delivery guarantee with free delivery within the UK on a minimum of 10 cases, with an online retailing option to buy. This ensures excellent service to our customers.”