If you leave Dyce, Scotland in a northeasterly direction, you’ll no doubt end up along the North Sea’s coastline. You’ll pass Donald Trump’s controversial golf course along the A90, infamously known by environmentalists, many of whom opposed its start up and watched closely as Trump took his opposition to an experimental offshore wind farm to court (and lost). Continuing along where land meets sea, past the Peterhead powerstation, through Peterhead itself (allegedly the biggest white fish port in Europe), west past the 630′ crane that tipped over in May and beyond the Longside airfield (but not quite to Longside), you’ll find Gregor Mackintosh on his family farm and you’ll be astounded by the passion he has for his business.
It was in March of 2009 that Gregor launched his cold-pressed rapeseed oil business. The business plan was initially prepared for his agricultural degree dissertation, but with the inspiration of a great lecturer, youth business advisors, some crucial networking and public relations, Gregor was able to start an award-winning business that now supplies contracts to Sainsbury’s and Tesco, leading supermarkets in the United Kingdom.
How has Gregor’s business been such a success? Well, besides some incredible networking tactics, Gregor hasn’t been afraid to branch out from the ordinary. Though his “cold-pressed” oil is arguably less efficient than its hot-pressed counterpart, it retains natural characteristics, flavour and nutrition, which, he says, is different from its highly-refined cousin, whose oil is lower in quality. These characteristics make it appealing to foodies and health-nuts alike, as it contains only 6% saturated fat, is rich in omegas 3, 6 and 9 and has a high smoke point relative to other oils on the market.
Gregor also sources 90% of the oilseed rape used in his production from the family’s farm, which appeals to a great number of UK consumers looking for “locally sourced” products. In addition, all of the leftover “cake” (or seed husks and oil) is mixed into a ration fed to livestock. The 0% waste policy makes the oil attractive to those concerned about their environmental footprint.
Though Gregor admits varieties have huge variances in flavour and crush, he wouldn’t identify his variety of choice, something he determined through extensive trial and error.
Today, only five years post-startup, Mackintosh of Glendaveny sells cold-pressed oils to 290 outlets in Scotland and England, is exploring export opportunities (including Dubai, where, thanks to a visit to the Gulf Food Show in February, Gregor secured an export order). They sell lemon, chili, garlic, ginger and plain oils and are considering diversifying into mayonnaise and rapeseed oatcakes.
The company produces 600 000L of oil per year and because of a recent 250 000 investment, has the capacity to bottle 11 500 bottles per day. This makes Mackintosh of Glendaveny the largest producer of cold-pressed rapeseed oil in Scotland.
And, when you drive back to your hotel, after a day of tours and taste-testing luxury oils, you’ll completely forget about the tipped over crane and the controversial Donald Trump. Instead, you’ll be thinking of the Mackintosh family’s contagious smiles and all the opportunities your business has to diversify.