Graham’s The Family Dairy’s business principles of integrity and accountability remain as rooted to the business today, as the day it was founded at Airthrey Kerse Farm in Bridge of Allan 75 years ago. From its origins of hand-milked cows and horse and cart deliveries, almost half of the households in Scotland now buy Graham’s award-winning range of products allowing the business to report a 25 per cent sales increase to £85million (2013: £68million) in its latest year-end results to 31 March 2014.
The Scottish family farming and dairy business, which works with more than 90 dairy farmers across Scotland and employs 500 staff, has developed a range of great tasting products with real provenance allowing the family dairy to grow 20 per cent annually for the last 15 years and increase pre-tax profits to £1,322,000 (2013: £1,006,953)
The profile and relevance of Graham’s products, including milk, butter, cream, cheese, ice cream, value added range, organic and indulgent Jersey products have increased significantly and its Graham’s The Family Dairy Gold Top jersey milk is now sold throughout the UK.
Not only is it Scotland’s largest independent dairy but in a sign of the growing demand for local produce Graham’s The Family Dairy recently overtook its Danish rival as the best selling butter brand in Scotland. It is the continual customer loyalty and demand from customers for Graham’s products that is the reason Graham’s is introducing additional spreadable butter varieties in 2015 as well as a range of luxurious butters.
Robert Graham, managing director of Graham’s The Family Dairy and grandson of its founder, said: “Everyone working for Graham’s is striving to deliver the best products, the best service and the best deal to allow more customers to enjoy our great products.
“We are now the most significant Scottish-owned dairy business and its our hard work ethic and personal accountability for everything we do and everyone we work with which is part of our success story. Our whole family has direct relationships and long-term friendships with the people we work with. I feel a personal responsibility for the people working in the business, for the farmers supplying our business and for the customers buying Graham’s.
“While we have all worked incredibly hard to achieve this increase in sales, margins remain extremely tight. We are in a fortunate position to respond quickly and creatively to react to requests from our customers. We can make decisions round the kitchen table in the farmhouse.
“We know where our products come from and so do our customers. It is clear from our sales that they enjoy buying quality, Scottish produce from a family run business with a strong heritage.”
Robert continued: “We are also excited about the prospect of creating a new £20m purpose-built dairy that will enable a significant step change in our business. This will not only be great for the Stirling economy but incredibly important for the long-term future of the dairy industry in Scotland. This is subject to the outcome of our Airthrey Green development proposals currently sitting with Stirling Council but the dairy would accommodate a new product development research facility and the creation up to 450 jobs including 50 local apprenticeships.
“As farmers ourselves who continue to milk our own cows we understand the pressures farmers face. Farm gate prices are always difficult discussions but our direct relationships help us maintain good relations. We are currently exploring a new balancing scheme where our farmers will have the option to produce a certain amount for the liquid market and a percentage for manufacturing, to provide them with more financial security and visibility for the future.”
Recent research from Kantar Worldpanel confirmed that more than 1.1 million of Scottish shoppers now purchase a Graham’s product at least once a year, which accounts for almost half the households in Scotland. This has contributed to the Graham’s brand reaching position 7 in the latest top 40 Scottish take-home food and drink brands in Scotland to be published in the Scottish Grocer on 1 December.
Carol Graham, marketing director at Graham’s The Family Dairy, added: “The continual feedback we receive from customers across the UK is really fantastic and it is our direct conversations with them that is driving our ambitions further. Our new product launches in the year ahead will allow us a greater opportunity to speak with the people that choose to buy our products.”
Notes to Editors:
- Graham’s products can now be found the length and breadth of the country via more than 6,000 customers from independent retailers to hotels and restaurants as well as all the major multiples including Waitrose, Tesco and Asda, with Sainsbury’s also stocking Graham’s branded goods south of the border.
- In 1939 when the company was founded by Robert Graham – the grandfather of the current managing director Robert Graham (Jnr) – he reared 12 cows, milked them by hand then made all deliveries by horse and cart
- Graham’s The Family Dairy is Scotland’s largest independent dairy producing an award winning range of milk, butter, cream, ice cream and cheese as well as Graham’s Gold Jersey range.
- At the 2014 Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards, Graham’s The Family Dairy won the Business of the Year award and the Brand Success of the Year award with the Entrepreneur of the Year award going to Robert Graham.
- Other award accolades during 2014 include the Chairman’s Award for First Time Entrants at the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards and Carol Graham being named Fife & Central Scotland Regional Director of the Year at the IoD Scotland Awards.