George Taylor's family has farmed near Dundee for 350 years, his great-grandfather George was the city's last jute baron, and he may be on his way to becoming Scotland's first crisp baron.

Mackie's at Taypack has just opened a new purpose-built factory at Errol to double capacity. It already exports to 20 countries, and Mr Taylor believes the venture can build turnover from £4.6 million to £35m by 2020 and become "number two in the UK premium crisp sector". The current number two, Tyrrells, which turns over £50m behind market leader Kettle's £130m, changed private equity hands recently for £100m.

Five years ago, when his successful Taypack potato business was squeezed almost to death by supermarket pressures, Mr Taylor kept it on life support, and achieved a sale to an English group which took on the workforce, the growers, and the Inchture factory where the family business had invested £20m.

He had already thought about crisps. "Then one day I read in the paper that Mackie's had been awarded a grant to put in a crisp factory at Westerton," Mr Taylor recalls. "I nearly fell off my chair. That day I phoned Kirsten Mackie, because we both wanted to do the same thing and Scotland didn't need two premium crisp brands coming in simultaneously.

It took two meetings, to agree that we would use the strength of their brand with the expertise on the Taylor side, and we also had a better location as Westerton was two hours further north and with crisps you are carting a lot of fresh air around. It was a really attractive proposition, but quite a hard decision for both sides because you have to let go - for Mackie's it was giving up a share of the brand they had spent 25 years developing."

Taypack this year took their share of the venture from 50% to 75%, putting Mr Taylor firmly in control as managing director. His father Russell, 74, is an active chairman of the family group which still spans farming and transport , as well as being this year's president of the Aberdeen Angus society. His daughter Sally, 22, started her first day in the business on the morning of The Herald's visit. Mr Taylor, 49, has two other children aged 25 and 20 who may follow, and says: "My grandfather would have been very proud of where the Taypack business went and the fact we are going into this. He and my father were out and out entrepreneurs - we never stand still."

Taypack views this year's potato harvest as slightly above average in terms of yield, noting it has been boosted by the summer sunshine. Last year, a lack of sunshine and prolonged wet weather led to a poor potato harvest.

Schooled at Strathallan, Mr Taylor left at 16 and embarked on a broad farming education but on returning to Tayside in 1986 found his grandfather reluctant to pass on the baton. "He said farming was finished. It wasn't made easy for me to come back into the family business, and I got into potatoes by default." Already a licensed potato merchant, Mr Taylor formed Taypack, creating a small packing plant with a contract for local retailer Wm Low.

"I was brought up to trust everybody, in life and in business...there were a lot of rogues in the trade and I remember once thinking I had traded a load down to Covent Garden and finding it had been completely rejected and I got nothing for it."

After his grandfather's death, the latter's Inchture farmhouse became the family home for 14 years as the factory grew like Topsy next door, Mr Taylor recalls. "The final straw was when I put a conveyor belt past my wife's washing line."

Taypack landed a deal with Asda which enabled it to take 100,000 tonnes of potatoes a year from 30 Scottish growers, employ 250 at Inchture, and supply up to 40% of the supermarket giant's pre-packed washed potatoes, peaking at a £36m turnover. "It was a good place to be, there were pitfalls in terms of putting all the eggs in one basket but I was younger and a bit more gung-ho," Mr Taylor admits.

A fall in demand and an over-supply in the UK saw Taypack, with 90% of production taken by one customer, squeezed hard. "By 2008 we had hit a really bad place...we had to part company with Asda, and we had a couple of years regrouping."

The potato business was sold in June as a "turnkey solution", complete with staff, machinery and 20-year factory lease, to Lincolnshire-based QV Foods which wanted a Scottish base to compete with rivals.

Mr Taylor says: "The new venture is a great combination of the two companies coming together but a sharp learning curve as we had no crisp expertise. We invested in £2m of kit, switched the machine on and said let's make crisps.....We got an instant listing with Tesco and have had a rapid roll-out since then. Mackies crisps are now listed by every Scottish retailer and in 50 big Asda stores nationally.

"The new factory enables 201,000 bags to be produced in a single shift, and there are plans for a visitor centre in the historic former brickworks which dates back 150 years and before that to Roman times,"says Mr Taylor.

"We probably lost year one, learning how to run a crisp factory," Mr Taylor says. "The product was good enough, but we are producing a better product now. The main strength we have is our crisp is different, it has unique and quirky Scottish flavours, and Scotland the brand sells well worldwide, it is an easy sell, people associate it with quality."

Scottish Enterprise (and Clydesdale Bank) helped bankroll the factory and Scottish Development International and the Global Scots Network helped Mackie's crisps make headway in 20 export markets.

Mr Taylor says: "We have something in Scotland which is quite unique, and I said to John Swinney at the factory opening 'if there are any plans for cutbacks don't make them in these areas'."

The strategy is one of "calculated risk", requiring a big marketing investment.

"We are playing with the big boys, we set out to do this, we could have set out to be fairly small regional player running a cottage industry."

On Tyrrell's £100m price-tag, he jokes: "We would take slightly less than that now."

But could someone come knocking?

"It is not on our agenda but it would be foolish to say it would never happen."