Mackie’s captures greater market share as Brits seek premium ice cream brands

A clear UK-wide trend towards indulgent ice cream brands over the past year has helped serve up a major jump in market share for Scottish family business, Mackies.

According to a 52 week study by Kantar Worldpanel, demand for premium ice cream grew significantly in 2020, (an increase of 17.5%) and one clear beneficiary of this collective search for simple treats has been the Aberdeenshire brand, Mackie’s of Scotland, experiencing a 37% growth in sales, second only in the UK to that by major multi-national brand.

It means that Scotland’s no.1 premium ice cream brand has a 6% estimated UK-market share and increased sales in all major retailers.

It is apparent that consumers have looked for a ‘mood booster’ at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. The research found that seeking ‘enjoyment’ - in the form of a treat or reward, a change, or just an enjoyable taste experience - was an important driver for purchase, and that this had taken priority over health in some respects.

The data showed a move away from lower calorie alternatives in the ice cream sector, with the sector’s two leading brands experiencing a 57% and 77% drop in sales.

Sales Director at Mackie’s, Stuart Common, said, “We’ve been making ice cream since 1986 and it is always fascinating to see how trends develop.

“It reassures us that consumers always appear to revert back to wanting an affordable indulgent treat, something that can give them a real taste sensation and that they can enjoy in moderation.

“Clearly this has been a time of great uncertainty to people. We hope that our products can bring some comfort – and little moments of joy.”

Common continued, “It is a huge credit to our staff - who made it possible for Mackie’s to keep going and even increase some production levels throughout the pandemic, despite needing to adapt and implement entirely different systems to ensure distancing and the safety of its teams.'

Mackie's Traditional real dairy ice cream, its original flavour, was created by the former milk retail company when semi-skimmed milk became popular, leaving the company with an excess of cream on the farm.

Over the years it has become Scotland's best-selling ice cream and has made Mackie's one of the UK's top brands for luxury ice cream, gaining a cache of awards, including “simply delicious” the definition given to one star from the Great Taste Awards 2020.

The fourth-generation family farm is in North East Scotland (co-owner and Marketing Director, Karin Mackie pictured), and Mackie's still produce all its ice cream using fresh milk and cream from its dairy herd on the farm.

The company's ‘sky to scoop’ ethos sees it create everything from milk to its packaging on site, powered predominantly by renewable energy - via four wind turbines, a 10-acre solar farm and a biomass energy plant. In addition, work is underway to create a new £4.5m low carbon refrigeration system, the first of its kind in Scotland.