Macsween is a third generation family company established as a butchers shop in Edinburgh in the 1950’s. The company has passed down through a family of natural entrepreneurs. Following in his Grandfather and father’s footsteps the business is now under the leadership of James Macsween.
The business has transformed over the years from that of a traditional butcher making haggis to a fully-fledged food producer, passionate about making the best tasting foods, prioritising environmental sustainability and recognising the importance of their people and place within the community.
As a business, Macsween represents a family firm that continues to invest in their future, introducing new technology and new products to broaden and diversify their portfolio of products, whilst maintaining their desire to deliver quality and value at all times. As James explains, “We have a long history as a family of business owners with hard work at the core with four generations of crofters in the history that pre-dates the evolution of Macsween too.”
“I joined the business back in 1992 and there has been a lot of change since then, in the business and the broader community that our products serve. Things are constantly changing and as a family business in the food sector you are only as good as the last order that you supplied and you have to keep up with trends and consumer demands.”
As James continues, “The past couple of years have been tough, keeping the factory running and covid-free, plus investing in new products, keeping one eye on the future so that we continue to evolve and also doing our bit towards our sustainability agenda and net zero. Having said that, the team have been superb and responded well to the changes we have introduced and we have pulled together, focusing on what needs to be done in order to meet demand from our customers.”
As a business owner there is always a full agenda and in the current climate there is certainly a lot more to take on board and address, not least the ongoing implications associated with Brexit, labour shortages, supply chain issues and the continuing pandemic. As James adds, “it is not easy but we are now trying to expect the unexpected a bit more and we try to err on the side of realistic and if something is not working take quick decisions because if you fail fast you fail cheap!”
Looking ahead, James is optimistic about the future but there is also an air of caution.
“We are only as good as our last order and there are plenty of pressure points but ultimately I love what I do, I make Scotland’s national dish and am fiercely proud of what we make and the overwhelmingly positive response that we get to our products,” concludes James.
Macsween is certainly a household name and haggis is certainly an iconic Scottish dish, but this business is more than just haggis as they continue to innovate with new products and distributing to new markets, with an eye on the future making the products fit for future generations by reducing the carbon footprint of the business, automating where possible without affecting the quality of the products and doing their bit for the environment.
As a business they are champions of all things haggis and constantly sharing new ways to use haggis in everyday cooking, from Bolognese to nachos, something that continues to broaden the appeal and extend its versatility too.
Macsween is undoubtedly a great example of a Scottish family business that continues to thrive and be an integral part of the true essence of Scotland, something we hope continues for many generations to come.