Case Studies

Pivot towards wholesale market is recipe for success for Scottish clootie pudding business

Based in Abernethy, Clootie McToot is a traditional Scottish bakery that uses a secret recipe handed down through generations to create the perfect clootie dumpling.

9th May 2022

The business was launched in 2017 after owner Michelle Maddox made the traditional pudding for a bake sale at her son’s school.

After the pandemic limited its options for targeting customers directly through festivals and markets, Michelle worked with Business Gateway to adapt and target the wholesale market. Clootie McToot has continued to build and develop larger premises to accommodate future contracts. Michelle, who already exports to the USA, is looking to build on her growth by securing a contract with a global brand. She also has new products in development including a ‘ready to eat Clootie Wedge.

Her successes were also recently recognised on Future Food Stars, a BBC and Ramsay production.

Michelle said, “I worked with Business Gateway during the early stages of my business journey, but once the pandemic hit, I knew I needed a new strategy to reach customers. Working with the team, I adapted my business approach and started to target the wholesale market. This resulted in contracts with retail giants including Tesco and John Lewis, as well as others, and has been fundamental to my business growth.”

Michelle was signposted to funding by Business Gateway and was awarded over £40k of grant funding through a Scottish Enterprise CAPEX grant. This allowed the business to purchase new equipment to increase their dumpling manufacturing process, including the purchase of 60-litre mixers and two 50-litre boilers, a significant improvement from the 40-litre mixers and 50-litre pots they had previously been using. This has helped the business scale up production, and it is now producing over 1,000 dumplings a week, with the capacity to increase this to 7,000 dumplings a week during December.

Additionally, based at Clootie HQ, is the Clootie McToot Bistro, a friendly café where visitors can enjoy a slice of clootie dumpling and watch the activities in the kitchens from a viewing gallery. Michelle passionately strives to create a welcoming working environment for everyone and the funding from Scottish Enterprise also enabled the purchase of bespoke, specialised equipment for her staff who have varying abilities and capabilities. All the equipment in the upstairs bistro kitchen is adaptive, fully catering for the needs of her workforce.

Michelle also looked to improve her digital platforms and engaged with DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national upskilling programme. Through this, she was able to work with an external agency that helped develop the brand’s website and social media platforms.

Michelle said, “Business Gateway has been with me from the beginning of my journey, from when I first formed the business idea right up until now. I can’t recommend them enough, and they have been a vital extension of my team, providing advice at every turn as I set about adapting to the pandemic. It gave me confidence that we could make it through an uncertain time, and we’re now firmly on the way to achieving our ambitious growth objectives.”

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