Perseverance is the entrepreneur’s watchword, believes Donna Peacock, founder of Highland Crackers, an Inverness-shire based cracker producer. She should know. For her business, which she launched in 2014, started not with crackers, but with cordial.

“The cordials didn’t work, if you want to look at it that way, but I used many of the same suppliers when I came to make the crackers,” says Ms Peacock.

Highland Cordials, which won a Great Taste award in 2015 for its ginger and nettle cordial, foundered on the need for a bottling line. Being unable to find a suitable line, Ms Peacock couldn’t scale up. When she also encountered problems sourcing certain foraged ingredients, such as elderberries, she decided to switch to crackers.

“It was a steep learning curve,” she says. “You don’t know you’ve got a source problem, until the item is not there.”

Ms Peacock then took the guiding principles behind Highland Cordials, which sprang from an interest in foraging and botanicals, and applied them to crackers. She now has three lines, including a dairy and gluten-free cracker, all of which have won a Great Taste award.

“I reverted to my passion, which was more on the baking side,” says Ms Peacock, who traces her interest in food back to a childhood spent in Australian orchards and previously ran a café in Fort William with her husband.

In the café, she was responsible for cakes, but in the new business she has focused on a savoury product. The emphasis is on Scottish ingredients, such as beremeal, an ancient barley grain from Orkney, cold-pressed rapeseed oil from Easter Ross and local sea salt.

“I wanted to go savoury because there was so much sweet stuff out there and I wanted to make something that utilised ingredients I could source here,” says Ms Peacock.

Highland Crackers, which has grown organically, was initially made possible by an inheritance and a job at a medical devices company that Ms Peacock took when she and her husband moved to Inverness. The inheritance allowed her to install a commercial kitchen at her home, while shift work at the company freed up chunks of time.

A range of farm shops and delis, mainly but not exclusively in Scotland, now the stock Highland Crackers. The gluten-free crackers are also used in service by Contini at the National Galleries and Cannonball Restaurant in Edinburgh, appearing in starters and on the cheese board for about four years now.

“It felt like quite an accomplishment to have them in service for people who are so passionate about the sourcing of their products,” says Ms Peacock. “That was exactly where I wanted my product to go.”

Now the focus is on scaling the business up. Attempts to outsource cracker production have been unsuccessful, as it was impossible to get the same finish in a factory. Ms Peacock is therefore looking to introduce a new bakery product in the autumn that she will not handmake.

“It’s something I’m developing to outsource from the onset,” she says. “It’s got a lot wider reach. There isn’t anything quite like it in the market.”

She may seek funding for this phase, with guidance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Crucially, the new product, which will have health benefits, will be outsourced to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) manufacturer. This means it can be exported, and Ms Peacock hopes to enter the export market within the next five years, probably starting with the US.

“I can scale up quite easily with BRC in place,” she says.