PORRIDGE oat bar maker Stoats has opened a factory in Loanhead, south of Edinburgh, as it gears up for expansion, writes Ian McConnell.

The company, which produces more than nine million porridge oat bars per year and aims to increase this output to meet growing consumer demand, said it was on track to achieve annual turnover of £10 million by 2020.

Stoats declared that it had, in the past year, secured numerous new listings across the UK, including supply deals with supermarket chains Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s as well as wholesalers Bidfood and Brakes.

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Stoats said the new 22,000 sq ft facility at Bilston Glen Industrial Estate in Loanhead would become the new headquarters for 40 staff, initially across bakery, sales, marketing and operations functions.

The company’s product range also includes flavoured quick porridge pots, porridge sachets, mueslis, and oatcakes.

Stoats managing director Tony Stone said: “We have come a long way since I began baking porridge bars in our family kitchen over 12 years ago. We’re really thrilled to be opening our own factory, where we can invest more in developing new products in both existing and new categories, as well as own-label products.

“The new factory gives us the opportunity to realise our ambitious plans, including increasing distribution across the UK and internationally. We can be more agile in our approach and we’re better placed to meet the demands of retailers and consumers.”

Stoats said it had seen double-digit-percentage growth in export sales year-on-year. It now exports to 12 overseas markets including the US and Benelux and Middle Eastern countries.

It added that it was "seeing growing success in these export markets".

Stoats, which is focused on delivering 100 per cent natural products using premium Scottish oats, is an independent company owned and operated by Mr Stone and director Bob Arnott. The business partners, who are both from Edinburgh, established the company in 2005.

Other retailers that stock Stoats' products include Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Co-op, Dobbies and Wholefoods.