Howie extends production hub
Published:  10 March, 2006

Less than three years after almost quadrupling the size of its Perthshire production hub to 40,000 sq ft, Simon Howie Foods (SHF) is now planning to add a further 10,000 sq ft of filling and packaging space within the next six months.

SHF's managing director Simon Howie said the decision to extend the Dunning operation was based mainly on "the business we're doing with multiple retailers and the national listings we're getting". Most recently, Sainsbury's has confirmed its intention to trial year-round sales of SHF's haggis at all 300 of its UK stores. The brand is also selling throughout the year at Morrisons stores in both England and Scotland. According to Mr Howie, his company has witnessed "a tenfold growth in haggis sales in four years" thanks to "sourcing high-quality Scottish meat" and the efforts of "a dedicated team of innovative chefs".

Mr Howie also commented on last June's acquisition of Perth-based McGregor Fresh Meats, which supplies a number of top restaurants, hotels and wholesalers. "It has bolted on to our business really nicely," he said. "It suited us both geographically and in terms of the type of customers." Asked whether further acquisitions were likely, he added: "We want to grow the business and not stand still. But it would need to be right for us - the figures would have to stack up."

The Simon Howie butchery business turned over more than £5.6 million in the financial year to April 30 2005. Speaking to MTJ, Mr Howie said he would be "disappointed" if, on an annual basis, the company failed to achieve a 20 per cent increase in sales. He also insisted that profits would continue to be "ploughed back into the business." Simon Howie Foods employs a total of 85 people across its Dunning headquarters and two butcher shops in Perth and Auchterarder.


Inverurie-based meat firm Donald Russell is planning a £3 million-plus investment in new facilities to meet growing demand from both the trade and mail order sides of its business. Director Ian Morrison has confirmed that the company is looking to establish a call centre and distribution depot in the Inverurie area, although he underlined that "we are at the very early planning stages".

The investment proposal has been boosted by the promise of £1.278 million from the Scottish Executive's agricultural and processing grant scheme. The company has until the end of 2008 to use the money.

Donald Russell markets beef, pork, lamb, game, ready meals and seafood for trade and mail order customers. The company is jointly owned by well-known meat industry figures Willie Donald and John Stone.