McGhee’s sales go on a roll

Morning goods and bakery firm heads towards 3m a week

WHEN bakery firm McGhee’s moved to its main plant in the north of Glasgow around 11 years ago it meant massive investment as part of a plan to change the family-owned company – from primarily a cakes producer to one where the priority is morning goods.

McGhee's Rolls -savoury-1[5]
Fresh morning goods like rolls and potato scones are at the heart of the growth achieved by Glasgow-based bakery firm McGhee’s.

It paid off, says managing director Gordon McGhee. If anything growth in the rolls and morning goods side of the business was bigger and faster than anticipated.
And the investment and growth hasn’t stopped. Today McGhee’s is one of the major bakery players in Scotland serving grocery outlets of all shapes and sizes, as well as businesses in other sectors, with rolls, other morning goods, bread, cakes and confectionery.
The group includes a series of Scottish bakery partner brands including Fergusons, Fords, Lamond, Wallace and Kerrs.
“Everybody likes to buy local in our opinion,” said Gordon. “That’s why we have three bakery production facilities and the local bakery brands.”
The firm works in partnership too with Just, the gluten-free and allergen-free bakery goods firm launched by Ronnie Stebbings in 2013.
And it’s very excited by developments being carried out by the Just bakery.
“Ronnie’s on the brink of pretty great things,” said Gordon.
“He has a great recipe, all the chefs seem to love it.
“The growth potential for Just is huge.”
At the heart of the McGhee’s business, the Glasgow plant is one of the most efficient in the UK.
“We’re certainly up there,” said Gordon. “We continually invest in the business.”
The plant  does big numbers.
“We produce very close to 3m rolls a week,” explained the company’s  sales manager Ross Hamilton.
“That’s just one bakery here in Glasgow. Quality at the old site was good but when the business moved here the efficiencies gained and the consistency meant more customers could really rely on us and that  meant it could grow very quickly.”
The firm has noticed a swing towards more regular, small-scale shopping by consumers. That has probably helped sales of fresh morning goods in general and its morning goods lines in particular.
McGhee’s is now represented in many different types of c-store including multiple convenience like Tesco Express outlets, Co-ops, independent chains like One-o-One and Scotfresh, and through cash & carries like Booker, Batleys and United Wholesale, as well as by direct sales, to independent and symbol stores across much of the country.
Most of the rolls and morning lines are delivered directly to stores while other lines like cakes and confectionery are often bought by stores through wholesalers.
New product development is more or less constant and lines are often produced in response to customer requests.
One recently successful piece of NPD was the firm’s pack of four Cheddar Cheesy Potato Cakes.