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

Michelle Maddox (Clootie McToot founder)

A TRADITIONAL Scottish bakery that uses a secret recipe handed down through generations to create the perfect clootie dumpling has grown her business after working with Business Gateway to adapt and target the wholesale market and has secured contacts with major UK retailers.

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

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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. Her successes were 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, who already exports to the USA, is now 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.

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 is passionate about creating a welcoming working environment for everyone and the funding from Scottish Enterprise 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. 

In addition, Michelle looked to improve her digital platforms and engaged with DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme delivered through Business Gateway. Through this, she was able to 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.”  

Andrew Webster, Adviser, Business Gateway, said: “We have supported Michelle through both our start-up and growth business services, helping her achieve her ambitious growth plans. Clootie McToot is a really great example of how, with our support, a small business can scale up its operations and successfully enter the global market.”   

“Michelle’s passion for fostering an inclusive working environment coupled with her love of the clootie dumping, is what sets Clootie McToot apart. It is rewarding to see how the business is growing and we look forward to continuing to support her and her business’ expansion into the USA.” 

To find out how Business Gateway can help your business, visit:   

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