Spreading out

Graham's The Family Dairy MD Robert Graham
THERE’S a lot of talk about Scots being switched on to Scottish food. But in dairy there’s still a very great deal for Scottish producers to play for, reckons Robert Graham, managing director of fast-growing Graham’s the Family Dairy.

He argues it’s crazy that the country’s best-selling butter, cheese and yogurt should all come from down south or further afield.

The industry in Scotland has a responsibility to do something about that, he said.

While the Bridge of Allan-based family firm has seen growth for 20 years, it will make a very significant jump between now and 2020 if things go to plan.

It’s looking to build a new £20m dairy in Stirlingshire, which would have production and research capabilities to provide what he called a “step change”. The project should go to council planning soon.

The company already has a culture of brand and product development. A notable recent performer has been its Light and Low milk which Graham describes as “ideal for convenience, a value range that hits a price point but allows a retailer to make margin”.

Graham's 250g spreadable butter

This year there’s a major programme of development lined up.

“Our ice-cream relaunches in March and we’ll have new flavours,” he said.

Then there will be a series of significant launches of spreadable butter lines. The firm sees major opportunities in spreadable butter, and it’s going for it big time.

“We looked at Kantar data recently and our spreadable is growing at 76% and that’s with two SKUs,” he said.

“Spreadable in Scotland is worth about £60m at retail but about 96% of it comes in from outside.”

So in the spring and summer the company intends to launch a new Graham’s spreadable light product, an organic line, and a Gold Top version. It’s also considering a value line and a lightest product.

Later this year it plans to enter the yogurt market.