Mackie’s serves up helpings of nostalgia with vintage tubs
One of Scotland’s best loved ice cream makers is serving up a giant scoop of nostalgia – by producing quarter of a million ‘vintage’ tubs to mark its 30th birthday.
Mackie’s says it expects its army of fans to lap up the retro packs of its number one selling traditional flavour, after designers revived the look from the first ever batch produced.
When the firm started out as a fledgling ice cream maker in 1986 no-one knew it would go on to become one of the biggest ice cream makers in the UK and one of Scotland’s best-known food brands.
In fact, the £12 million-a-year company now even makes its own packaging – and all 250,000 of the retro tubs will be produced on the same Aberdeenshire farm where the ice cream is made.
Karin Mackie, one of the three current sibling family owners, said: “Our traditional ice cream is often described as a taste of childhood – so we thought it would be fun to enjoy a little nostalgia by bringing out these vintage tubs.
“We’ve made lots of different flavours over the years – but none have stood the test of time quite like our original and best selling traditional.
“30 years on and it is thanks to our customers that we have reached this milestone birthday – and this limited run of tubs is just the beginning of our bumper year of celebrations.”
While the Mackie family have farmed at Westertown Farm, near Inverurie, since 1912, they only started making ice cream in 1986, as a response to the growing demand for semi skimmed milk which left them with surplus cream.
Now the firm employs 68 people on the farm, a relatively small team which includes five who have been with Mackie’s since the switch from milk retail to luxury dairy ice cream.
Rhona Wight, operations director, joined Mackie’s on the milk bottling line and is now responsible for production of over 11 million litres of ice cream per year, which is sold across the UK and exported to countries including Korea, Taiwan and the Middle East.
Wight said: “ I have always enjoyed a challenge – and that’s a good thing here as the family are always keen to try something new. We’ve made many flavours of ice cream, in different sizes over the years, yet my personal favourite remains the original – Traditional flavour.”
Its success as one of the country’s best-loved premium ice cream makers has also seen Mackie’s expand into producing other indulgent treats, including crisps and chocolate – made in the £600,000 chocolate factory opened on the farm earlier this year.
Mackie added: “These limited edition tubs will only be available for a short time and we hope our fans and most loyal customers will appreciate the chance to help us celebrate a wee bit of our history and heritage in this landmark year for our business.”
The limited run of tubs will appear alongside the more familiar modern tubs in stores from mid June, and are expected to have sold out completely by July.
Mackie’s decision to produce its own packaging on site is part of its drive to become one of the greenest businesses in Scotland. The 1600-acre farm also boasts four wind turbines, a solar array and a biomass plant, allowing it to produce large amounts of clean, green energy.
Mackie’s fresh milk and cream come from its own dairy herd, a vital element in the firm’s “sky to scoop” ethos.
As part of its 30th birthday celebrations Mackie’s is also offering one lucky fan the chance to win a lifetime’s supply of ice cream. Customers who sign up as Friend of Mackie’s online already get access to tastings, promotions and competitions but on 21 June one of the registered Friends will win a Life time supply of Mackie’s ice cream.
Mackie added: “We hope that the winner will be enjoying our ice cream for at least another 30 years.”
Mackie’s ice cream and new product timeline
1912 – The Mackie family begin farming at Westertown farm, Inverurie
1986 – After 74 years, the firm dips its toe into the world of ice cream making
1993 – With turnover hitting more than £2.5 million Mackie’s converts the old byre and mill into a modern facility
1995 – Mackie’s Highland range hits the shelves. Premium flavours like Drambuie, Chocolate Fudge, Gaelic Coffee and, the classic, vanilla, give customers a chance to try something a bit different.
The first TV advert is aired showing off Mackie’s sensual side showing someone enjoying a luxurious spoonful.
1996 – Loch Ness Mudster, Verryberry and Mackawack (macaroon) injected some extra fun into the range
1998 ‘Mackie’s with More’ – Mackie’s teamed up with other Scottish stalwarts to bring customers new flavour combinations including Baxter’s Orange Marmalade and Walker’s Ginger Shortbread
2001 – Cream of Scottish, a soft scoop vanilla ice cream and ‘Vibrant’, a Strawberry & Raspberry sorbet with a drop of happiness make a fresh extension to the Mackie’s range
2002 – Scotland goes to the World Cup (almost) as Mackie’s becomes the official ice cream suppliers to the World Cup
2004 – Good Mood Food picks up on the success of the ‘Vibrant’ Strawberry & Raspberry sorbet by introducing a new ‘Vibrant’ orange and raspberry dairy sorbet with an added drop of Happiness (Alaskan orchid essence from Shabd Sangeet)