Meet the Maker: Mackies at Taypack

Melissa Hack, national account manager, talks crisps, provenance and the joys of pickled onion

Melissa Hack

What’s your role?
I work for Mackie’s at Taypack where I manage the convenience retail and foodservice channels for the Mackie’s crisps and popcorn range. I joined the business two and a half years ago and have worked within the crisps, snacks and nuts category for 11 years.

What’s a typical working day like for you?
I like to start every day by having a quick catch up with the industry news to make sure I am up to date with everything that is happening within the category and wider market.
Following a review of the sales performances within my accounts, my day can take any direction. It may kick off with an NPD meeting with the team to discuss our festive strategy for the year, followed by building category slides for a presentation and then meetings with our suppliers to organise raw materials for the projects I’m working on.

What’s your favourite part of the job?
Seeing an idea for a product come to life. There is nothing better than watching a product go from ideation to hitting my customers’ shelves, especially with NPD like our Pickled Onion crisps when it truly disrupts the category and is an overwhelming success with our consumers.

What’s your brand’s story?
Our crisps are made at the fourth-generation Taylor farm in Errol, Perthshire, renowned for its potatoes, where the produce is made “from plough to pack”. The crisps brand and Mackie’s at Taypack as a business were launched in 2009 as the result of a joint venture between potato farmers the Taylor family and Aberdeenshire’s Mackie’s of Scotland, which is renowned for its ice cream and chocolate.

Mackies at Taypack crisps are made at a fourth-generation farm in Perthshire.
Mackies at Taypack crisps are made at a fourth-generation farm in Perthshire.

Could you describe your range?
Our core range consists of a variety of traditional, unique and Scottish inspired flavoured crisps available in 40g, 150g and now £1PMP 80g pack formats. We have a hugely successful festive range of crisps and popcorn as well as our new healthy snacking range Lentil Waves.

What’s your USP?
Made “from plough to pack” in Scotland, Mackie’s Potato Crisps deliver natural goodness and a tasteable difference in every crunch.

Our potatoes are naturally grown and are the best varieties for crisping. Our seasonings, too, are all-natural and have been carefully selected to create our range of traditional and Scottish flavours. But what really sets Mackie’s Crisps apart is their distinctive texture and taste; they’re produced using a unique gentle cooking method which protects the flavour and quality to ensure a great crunch, fresh potato taste and dry texture – so what you’ll taste is the potato crisp, not the oil.

Who is buying Mackies at Taypack?
With Mackie’s now the sixth most chosen Scottish brand in Scotland, we really do have a very broad consumer base that continues to grow. With the launch of our Lentil Waves and our recent distribution gains within the convenience channel on our core range, it has meant we’ve been able to meet the demand of a more health-conscious generation and fulfil a wider range of snacking occasions.

What’s your favourite?
My absolute favourite is our Pickled Onion crisps. I had always been super keen for us to launch this flavour knowing that it over-indexed in Scotland and recognising there was a huge opportunity to strengthen our core range. After numerous rounds of taste testing – who knew there were so many variations of Pickled Onion – there was a clear winner and fast forward a year it has already cemented its place within our top three best-sellers.

How important is the Scottish convenience channel?
The Scottish convenience channel is playing a more important role than ever for us. It is our fastest-growing channel and is showing no sign of slowing down thanks to the launch of our £1 price-marked packs last summer.

Now stocked by JW Filshill, Bestway, Spar (CJ Lang), United Wholesale (Scotland) and Glencarse Foods, we have fantastic distribution and can provide a great value offering to both our consumers and retailers.

The channel is a major part of our future growth plans and we will continue to develop products and marketing initiatives that enable us to support this channel to thrive and meet our consumer’s needs.

What’s on the agenda for 2022?
Following a year where we grew by 37%, we have moved into 2022 with the same momentum and even more exciting plans. Along with some new additions to the range, we are expanding our factory to meet the growing demand, as well as making a significant investment to strengthen our sustainability agenda over the next three years.