Food and drink

HIE announces funding support to Stag Bakeries

Stag Bakeries is to extend its premises, invest in new machinery and employ new staff as part of a major new development at the Isle of Lewis bakery.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) this week announced funding support of £116,700 towards the £500,000 project.

The Stornoway based bakery produces an extensive range of products for their loyal local customers as well as a wide variety of sweet and savoury biscuits which are specifically made for off island markets and export.

As its biscuits have a good shelf life and strong branding, its products have proven ideal for UK and export markets.

The Stag brand holds a premium position in the UK speciality food market and supplies some of the best independent delis, farm shops and upmarket food halls.

Around 12 months ago, the award winning bakery started to export its products outside of the UK, and now sells products to eleven countries including Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Norway and Portugal. A strategy has been put in place to also target emerging markets and business has already been achieved in both China and Russia.

Due to a phenomenal rise in business, driven by demand from local, domestic and international markets, Stag Bakeries, with the help of HIE, is now investing in the future; to fulfil demand and to ensure that the business has sufficient capacity to flourish.

As part of the company’s growth phase, the new project will focus on modernising and expanding parts of the business to support increased production. As demand increases and new markets are opened, there will also be considerable investment in the development of new products.

The new development will bring additional job creation, with plans to expand the current 41-strong workforce by an additional 30 percent over the next three years.

HIE has been working with Stag Bakeries and its owner Charles Macdonald since 2009 and has helped the company to realise its strong export potential.

HIE’s Area Manager, Rachel Mackenzie, said: “We have supported Stag Bakeries over the years to develop their international trade activity and provided assistance through various HIE programmes such as Graduate Placements, Summer Placements and specialist advice. Ambitious businesses such as Stag Bakeries are making a real difference to achieving growth aspirations, and are very important to the island’s economy.

“Stag Bakeries has recognised the export opportunities open to them and has acted on this to grow and expand the business. Stag Bakeries is an excellent example of an ambitious local business successfully accessing a wide range of knowledge in markets around the world. We wish them all the best and look forward to supporting them as their business expands.”

Charles Macdonald, owner of Stag Bakeries, said: “We have a clear business strategy for growth and plan to continue to capitalise on new market opportunities and build a brand associated with product excellence. We aim to create a range of new jobs as the company expands and represent our island community on an international platform.

“We are delighted to be receiving financial support from HIE. Their invaluable assistance will help to grow our business and we look forward to the next few years as we continue to grow. A key component in this growth will be innovation in new products which is critical in markets that crave new ideas. We have an ongoing programme of product development which is important to growing a brand and keeping consumers interested.

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