MACKIE’S of Scotland has achieved strong growth in ice cream sales, bucking the trend in a tough UK market.

The Scottish family business, owned by siblings Mac, Kirstin, and Karin Mackie, achieved more than £13 million of sales in the UK ice cream retail market in the year to January 2016. This was up by 8.3 per cent on the prior 12 months, the figures from Mintel show, in a market that is believed to have been down marginally in value terms in the year to January 2016.

The Aberdeenshire-based firm’s share of the UK market is estimated at about two per cent, on the basis of volume of ice cream sold.

Mackie’s highlighted consumers’ growing preference for upmarket ice cream, and the fact the company was more than holding its own against big producers.

Mac Mackie, a director of the family business, said: “We are, of course, delighted to see continued growth and the number of UK customers enjoying Mackie’s ice cream growing.”

He added: “We’re starting to make progress, taking a few wee bites out of the pan-global big boys…and that’s heartening to see, particularly as we still produce everything we need, from energy and packaging to the rich cream for our ice cream, at our ancestral farm in Aberdeenshire.”

Mackie’s employs about 70 staff in its ice cream and chocolate production operations. It now produces more than 10 million litres of dairy ice cream annually, having increased production volumes at Westertown Farm near Inverurie substantially.

Mr Mackie said: “It’s clear that consumers are moving…towards products made with care and attention, focusing on great flavours, locality and a smooth texture.”

Mackie’s underlined its plans to add to its range of ice cream flavours, noting it had sold out of a newly-created bacon, pancake and maple syrup variety at the Royal Highland Show in June. It experimented with 30 new flavours at the Royal Highland Show, including bubblegum and caramel biscotti.

Mackie’s of Scotland said in February it had raised turnover and profits on the back of further success in the UK market and a hike in exports, enabling significant bonuses for its staff. It highlighted new sales in Taiwan and growth in business with Costco in South Korea as it revealed it had raised turnover by about £500,000 to £11.6 million in the year to May 31, 2015. Underlying operating profits rose 10 per cent to £907,000.