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Focused brand investment sees Graham’s The Family Dairy’s sales increase by 21%

Significant brand investment, product development and quality customer service have all positively contributed to Graham’s The Family Dairy’s latest year-end results to 31 March 2013. Scotland’s largest independent dairy company has reported a 21 per cent sales increase to £68m (2012: £56m) with annual pre-tax profits having more than doubled to £1,006,953 (2012: £420,568). 

The award-winning Graham’s brand is now widely recognised across the country and has given the Bridge of Allan-based family farming and dairy business, which will celebrate 75 years in business next year, further confidence to diversify its offering and develop new product lines.

Traditionally associated with milk, Graham’s now produces a range of added value products including butter, cream, ice cream as well as an indulgent Jersey range and was excited to announce a six-figure investment into Scottish cheddar cheese made from Scotland’s freshest milk earlier this year.

Despite experiencing growth for the 21st successive year, Graham’s The Family Dairy has not been immune to economic pressures and growing commodity prices. Continuing volatility in milk prices and a squeeze on margins generates further burden in the market.

Robert Graham, managing director of Graham’s The Family Dairy and grandson of its founder, explained: “A focus on the Graham’s brand and understanding the value of our brand has brought great success during this period, however as a business we continue to face tough trading conditions. The increased cost of raw milk, cream and fuel are still proving challenging.

“New contract wins and improved internal cost management has led to strong sales growth, however our commitment to invest for the long-term in operations, plant and machinery in challenging market conditions means that we are not currently seeing a true return on capital employed.”

Provenance remains a key part of Graham’s strategy with the company expanding its farm base over the past year to ensure sufficient quality produce moving forward. The dairy is particularly proud to have launched the UK’s first 1% fat organic milk and to own the second biggest butter brand in Scotland, after Lurpak from Denmark.

The Graham family became even more visible to its consumers this summer with the launch of its first TV advertising campaign. Designed to showcase the fact that they are a real and hard working family dairy business built on quality and integrity, the six-figure campaign asks what makes Graham’s taste so great? and runs across all marketing channels including on-pack.

Further expansion to increase capacity and capability is also on the horizon at its Nairn operation following a £482,770 Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) Award from the Scottish Government in June this year.

Robert Graham said:  “We are proud to be one of the few key players in the industry left in Scotland under independent ownership, and much of our success comes from our brand values and the positive working relationships we enjoy with 70 dairy farmers across Scotland.  As farmers ourselves operating three farms in Stirlingshire over 700 acres of land, our family understands the financial pressures and daily challenges, which is why we insist on paying fair farm gate prices and can be flexible with our business arrangements.

“Many industry players in Scotland are now under foreign ownership. As a Scottish family with five generations of farming experience and three generations in dairy, we are committed to growing our business in Scotland and extending our product lines while supporting Scotland’s dairy farming community.”

Graham’s products can now be found the length and breadth of the country via more than 5,000 independent retailers and all the major multiples including Waitrose, Tesco and Asda, with Sainsbury’s also stocking Graham’s branded goods south of the border.

Investment in the Graham’s brand has also been recognised in the latest Scottish Grocer top 40 Scottish brands in Scotland research by Kantar Worldpanel. The family business has jumped from 9th position to 7th thanks to significant sales and volume growth.

Robert Graham summed up by saying: “The strong position as the 7th best performing brand in Scotland in the latest Scottish Grocer Kantar Worldpanel research also defines the Graham’s brand as a must stock for all grocery retailers.” 

Here’s all the latest financial news from the farm supplied to you in a rather nifty infographic: