Boss praises food firms keeping folk fed in Falkirk and further afield

The staff at Larbert’s Malcolm Allan – and other food companies – has been praised for their often unsung work helping to ensure supermarket shelves are well stocked during the COVID-19 lockdown.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 9:22 am
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 9:23 am

Located in Central Park Avenue, Malcolm Allan has been manufacturing quality Scottish meat products since 1954, when it opened a family butcher shop in Bonnybridge.

The company, which has grown in size and now employs almost 200 people, still remains a traditional Scottish family butchers’ business, with Malcolm's sons and grandsons all involved in the company on a day-to-day basis.

If anyone knows how hard his staff – and those employed in the food manufacturing sector in general – have worked over these last three months of unprecedented health fears and hardship, it’s Malcolm Allan director Gordon Allan.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Malcolm Allan director Gordon Allan back in January unveiling the firm's Ultimate Haggis creation at Asda

He said: “Our staff and people in food companies have not had much credit since this all started. We were made key workers right from the start and just left to get on with it.

“Emergency staff and nurses rightly get praise, but they need to have something to eat to do their jobs. If there’s no food in the shops then more people would be out and about looking for it.

“We’ve also had the challenges of social distancing to deal with and those are ongoing and changing all the time. Our staff have been pretty good in what has been a worrying time for everyone – they have taken on the responsibility to get food out there on the supermarket shelves.

“We took the decision early on to cut our lines down from 20 to five of our most popular products and make sure they got out there.”

Now things are returning to normal Malcolm Allan has been able to diversify once more and is about to unveil a new product which will grace the shelves of Sainsbury’s – Vegetarian, and officially Vegan friendly, sausage rolls.

They are also looking to deliver their tasty treats further than ever – and not just during the festive season.

This month Malcolm Allan will start delivering to around 80 Tesco stores in the south of England – as far down as Bournemouth, where Gordon said he has not been since he saw Max Bygraves performing there.

“We start delivering those products on July 17,” said Gordon. “It’s going to be quite good for us. We have delivered products down there at New Year and it’s one of the areas they have proved most popular.”

Thanks to all the rules and regulations of lockdown, the firm – like many companies – has had to rely on technology more and more to stay on top of things.

However, Gordon recently had an experience that reminded him the best things can often be found right on our own doorstep, whether it be a nice slice of Lorne sausage or a computer whizz.

“It’s quite funny really. We were trying to upgrade one of our IT packages and we were going round the houses talking to people in China and India. Then we got in touch with someone who said, yes we can do that for you.

“We said, well how are we going to work out the logistics? They said, we can just walk over and talk to you about it.”

It turned out the best firm for the job at hand was TMS – who happen to be located just 300 yards away in Central Park Avenue.

“They’re just over the road behind the trees,” laughed Gordon.