Macleans Highland Bakery receives over £28,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Forres-based Maclean’s Highland Bakery has received a £28,711 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help advance its expansion project focused on growing UK wholesale and international markets.
The bakery will also use the funding to invest in new equipment and make efficiency savings by reducing plastic use in products.
A new automated packaging line will help the company to increase production as demand for products continues to grow. The equipment will help the bakery to increase capacity and reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing the use of plastic infills for crackers, biscuits and shortbread packaging.
The award-winning bakery was established in 1978 and is a significant employer in Forres, currently employing 109 full-time equivalent posts (FTEs). Its products include traditional shortbread, speciality biscuits, crackers, cakes and pies. The business is also keen to ensure opportunities are available for young ambitious people who want to stay in the area.
With government restrictions in place during the last few weeks, the family-owned bakery lost 40% percent of sales and furloughed many of its employees. Despite this, managing director Lewis Maclean remains optimistic about the future.
He said: “We have remained open over the last few weeks while offering a limited range of products. Previous customers are now starting to return, and we are taking on more orders. The funding from HIE is a great boost for our business and will allow us to increase output, efficiency and develop our product range as we focus on expanding our markets. The development is also a step forward in embracing biodegradable packaging for our products.”
Angie Smith, account manager at HIE, added: “Maclean’s Highland Bakery is part of the region’s important food and drink sector. The grant will support the company to grow its turnover and international growth as it develops. The firm has shown steady growth over the years and has clear potential for further expansion, providing valuable employment and contributing to the local economy.”
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr Maclean was keen for the bakery to do what it could to help support the community.
Due to unprecedented demand, it supplied Avva Distillery with free glycerine, a vital ingredient in sanitiser, supported Project Wingman at Dr Grays Hospital in Elgin, and supplying NHS staff free bread.