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Andy Stapley: Keeping it ‘simply clever’ is key to our success

Andy Stapley, of Macphie.
Andy Stapley, of Macphie.

Having been in business since the 1920s, Macphie has seen a lot of change in its 90 years.

These decades span the invention of the internet, political parties coming and going and even the introduction of robots in food factories.

In this time we’ve grown from a craft bakery to a go-to ingredients supplier for global food brands, yet the last two years have dealt the most challenging trading circumstances we’ve faced so far.

Navigating through the effects of Brexit and Covid-19 has been difficult, but a strong core and ability to embrace change has helped us get through.

We’ve built a reputation for doing the right thing, committing to the people and places around us in the form of our B Corp status.

Certified “B Corps” meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance; covering everything from how the business impacts its local economy to its use of renewable energy.

There are now more than 4,000 certified B Corps across 70 countries, and the waiting list of companies hoping to join this community of like-minded businesses is growing at pace.

B Corp certification proves you’re not just talking the talk when it comes to being a responsible business.”

The certification process isn’t easy. Initial assessment requires a minimum scoring of 80 points, with evidence to back up your performance.

This includes changing your articles of association to declare that you consider all shareholders when making decisions – not just stakeholders.

B Corp certification proves you’re not just talking the talk when it comes to being a responsible business.

In 2015 we were one of the first Scottish businesses to certify and have since increased our scoring by 15%.

The journey doesn’t stop post audit and there’s much more we can do.

On the production line at Macphie.

Life has a way of throwing a few challenges into the mix and that’s certainly been the case recently.

Against a backdrop of trading restrictions, rising raw material costs and supply issues, doing business hasn’t been a piece of cake.

We’ve had to make tough decisions to guarantee long-term survival of the business.

B Corp status challenges firms to marry up the practicalities of running a manufacturing business with doing the right thing for the environment, as well as their people and communities – finding the right balance of profit and purpose.

I believe this mix has helped us weather the storm of the past two years.

At Macphie we produce “simply clever” food – crafting creative yet practical solutions for our customers.

We do all the work behind the scenes to make life easier for chefs and bakers.

We’ve had to make tough decisions to guarantee long-term survival of the business.”

With many of our foodservice customers only just coming back to life after periods of forced hibernation, making things simple is more important than ever before.

We’ve invested heavily in our marketing strategy and rebranded to reflect the modern Macphie.

We’re also dedicating significant resource to making sure we fully understand or customers’ challenges and guarantee that our products meet their needs.

We do all the work behind the scenes to make life easier for chefs and bakers.”

Winning business is no longer about racing to offer the lowest price.

As consumers become more invested in what they’re eating and where it comes from, operators rely on transparency and credibility from their suppliers.

Our B Corp status sets us apart from competitors and is becoming a point of attraction to prospective customers.

We know the hospitality industry is battling staff shortages back of house, so making products that are quick and easy to use is key.

We also know rising electricity costs are a growing concern for business owners.

Our ambient range of sweet and savoury sauces don’t require costly chilled or frozen storage.

Each product is cleverly created and comes with recipe inspiration to make sure every unit is a menu multi-tasker that delivers added value.

In a world that is ever changing, the way we eat is evolving too. Growing environmental concern is driving a new wave of vegan eaters.

As a manufacturer, this shift in demand means we’re having to evolve our product range and how we package it.

Since 2020 we have extended our sauce range with five plant-based products, meaning almost one-third of our total branded lines are vegan certified.

We’ve also moved core sauce lines into packaging made up of 87% renewable material. We’re continuing to look at more sustainable packaging across the range.

I’m thrilled to see life returning to normal but don’t doubt that we’ll continue to face challenges in the coming months.

No leadership textbook could have prepared us for the past two years. We’ve been bold in our decision-making and invested in the areas we know are important.

While we operate in a global arena, we’re proud of our Aberdeenshire roots and have partnered with local schools and universities.

We’re committed to nurturing local talent in the realms of food science to support the wider industry.

And I am proud of how our team continually adapts to the changing environment to deliver commercial growth, while stretching our sustainability goals.

Andy Stapley is chief executive of food ingredient manufacturer Macphie.

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