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Moray bakery on the rise after HIE grant

By Lorna Thompson

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A MORAY bakery has been awarded a grant to invest in new equipment, explore new markets and reduce plastic use in products.

Forres-based Maclean’s Highland Bakery has been awarded £28,711 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards its expansion project after years of steady growth. The business will focus on growing UK wholesale and international markets.

A new automated packaging line will help the company to increase production as demand for products continues to grow. The equipment will help the bakery to increase capacity and reduce its carbon footprint by cutting down the use of plastic infills for crackers, biscuits and shortbread packaging.

The award-winning bakery was established in 1978 and is a significant employer in Forres, with 109 full-time equivalent posts. Its products include traditional shortbread, speciality biscuits, crackers, cakes and pies.

The business is also keen to ensure opportunities are available for young people who want to stay in Moray.

Maclean’s Highland Bakery managing director Lewis Maclean. Picture: John Paul/HIE.
Maclean’s Highland Bakery managing director Lewis Maclean. Picture: John Paul/HIE.

As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the family-owned bakery lost 40 per cent of its sales and furloughed many of its employees. Despite this, the firm’s managing director, Lewis Maclean, remains optimistic about the future.

Mr Maclean said: "We have remained open over the last few weeks while offering a limited range of products. Previous customers are now starting to return and we are taking on more orders.

"The funding from HIE is a great boost for our business and will allow us to increase output, efficiency and develop our product range as we focus on expanding our markets. The development is also a step forward in embracing biodegradable packaging for our products."

Angie Smith, account manager at HIE, said: "Maclean’s Highland Bakery is part of the region’s important food and drink sector. The grant will support the company to grow its turnover and international growth as it develops.

"The firm has shown steady growth over the years and has clear potential for further expansion, providing valuable employment and contributing to the local economy."

Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, the bakery supplied Elgin-based Avva Distillery with free glycerine to make hand sanitiser, supported Project Wingman at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin, and supplied NHS staff with free bread.

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