FAQs

Here we answer some of the questions we are frequently (and not so frequently) asked. If you do not find what you want to know, then please contact us and we’ll try to help!

  • NO – but ours does! Look at the ingredient information to check what is in a tub of ice cream. Some ice creams are made with fat content from vegetable oil. We recommend that you choose a real dairy ice cream like ours (made with fresh milk and cream)- to “taste the dairy difference”! See our Real Dairy Ice cream section for more information
  • Mackie’s use whole milk from our own herd of cows and we add extra cream. We buy additional cream – sourced as locally as possible. These fresh dairy ingredients create the fresh, creamy taste of real dairy ice cream.

  • The main reason for adding sugar is to provide the desired sweetness. Adding the correct amount and type of sugars also has an effect on the desired scoopability, body and texture of the ice cream.

  • We use Skimmed Milk Powder to provide the “milksolids”. A certain amount of ‘milk solids not fat” (MSNF) is needed to create a balanced stable ice cream –that will have good body & creaminess. It improves melting resistance and ensures smaller ice crystals,which enhances the smooth& creamy mouth feel.

  • Vegetable glycerine is a natural product made from vegetable oil, frequently rapeseed (like ours), palm or coconut oil. Glycerine is classified as a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture. Glycerine is an alcohol and helps keep the ice cream soft at low temperatures. Glycerine has a low glycaemic index and typically doesn’t elevate blood sugar. A very small amount of Glycerine is used in Mackie’s ice cream to improve the ‘scoop ability’ straight from the tub.

  • Our choice of emulsifier – ‘mono and diglyceride of fatty acids’ – come from rapeseed oil and we add a tiny amount to the ice cream mix. As you can guess from the  name – their role is part of the science involved in making good ice cream.  The emulsifiers help the fat and water contained in the ice cream mix to blend and then to stay together. This improves the creamy texture and helps the ice cream stay in good condition.

  • Egg is a traditional ingredient for ice cream – partly because it is a natural emulsifier – so it does the same job as the mono and di-glycerides – and partly to achieve the desired taste, even the small amount we use contributes to the final taste.

  • Yes, we use pasteurised eggs and the whole ice cream mix is also pasteurised.

  • Stabilisers do a bit of what their name implies. They help prevent temperature abuse (to stop the ice cream mix melting too easily) and they also help create good body and texture.
    Our choice of Sodium alginate helps create our smooth, fresh and ‘cold’ eat. (you do get some ‘warm eat’ ice creams!) Sodium Alginate is extracted from seaweed. The Sodium Alginate helps mix the milk and cream and give a better viscosity of mix – to help incorporate some air and create the desired texture.
    Guar Gum helps gel and thicken the mix, this can help prevent the formation of long ice crystals – essential when we like the ice cream to be creamy. Guar Gum is a natural product made from Guar seeds.

  • Yes. We pasteurise our ice cream mix. This is done to a slightly higher temperature than normally used – because that helps give Mackie’s its unique taste. You’ll probably know that the process is named after Louis Pasteur who found that heating milk to a high temperature, and then rapidly cooling it, removed any harmful bacteria to help keep the milk fresh for longer.

  • No, we only make dairy ice cream at the moment. We are always experimenting to find new products which taste delicious. if we manage to create a dairy free version that tastes just as good – we’ll let you know! Our parlour does offer dairy free sorbets and a couple of flavours of dairy free made for us by someone else.

  • Grittiness can be caused when ice cream has been allowed to melt and refreeze. Heat fluctuation, and in particular a slow refreezing process, creates larger milk sugar crystals in the product which spoils the texture. It is then no longer “ice cream made the way it should be” and you should throw it out.

    We are continually looking for new ways to increase our product’s resistance to heat shock. We also work with our retailer and distributor partners to try and avoid any failure in temperature control on the way to you – but we realise that it can sometimes occur in store freezers or transport lorries. Mackie’s ice cream has to pass a battery of quality tests before we allow it to leave our premises so we are confident it leaves in perfect condition.

  • Mackie’s is a creamy luxury ice cream and due to less air being added than to cheaper soft scoop alternatives, the final ice cream is harder to scoop than some. We recommend you try to take the ice cream out of the freezer and allow the it to soften at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave for a short 5-10 s. Finally a good scoop can make a great difference – that’s what the professionals use!

  • Chocolate is never made with liquid fresh milk– that would be like adding some water and the chocolate mix would seize up /solidify. That’s why Skimmed Milk Powder is used to make milk chocolate.

    We do not make Skimmed Milk Powder ourselves – it’s a complex process. the type of SMP is important – whether its spray dried or rolled and where it comes from will all make a difference to the final desired taste

  • This may mean that the chocolate has not been perfectly tempered or that the bar has been subjected to moisture or heat (melting). The chocolate is safe to eat – but may not be as good as it should be.

  • Unfortunately they are not recyclable. We have to source particular type of film to protect the chocolate from moisture and light. We will keep working with our packaging suppliers to find the best and most sustainable solutions.

  • We do not make any products containing nuts. However we cannot guarantee that all of our suppliers are nut free. That means that those with a nut allergy must gauge their potential risk and unfortunately might avoid our products if they have a very severe allergy.

  • Have a look at our ice cream flavours where you will find a list of the store types.

    You can buy chocolate online from our webshop!

  • In Scotland it is too cold for cows to be outside from about November to May. In the summer months our young stock or cows who are not milking are out in the fields. Our milking herd stay in the byre. See more information on their welfare in the farm section.

  • We’ve invested £6m over the years in high tech in-mould labelling machinery to make 1 and 2 litre tubs and lids on the farm.

    Our design aim is to make a tub with the minimum amount of plastic to create a tub fit for its purpose. By making the tubs on site we avoid the carbon miles involved in transportation and we are able to use our own renewable energy to power the machinery.

  • We use Plastic – polypropylene – plastic no.5. This is commonly used because it works well for ice cream – it can be secure with a tamper-evident seal on the lid, is safe for food without risk of contamination and robust enough to withstand packing, distribution, and the final journey in and out of consumer’s freezers for scooping.

    We use PP because it is strong, has a high resistance to low temperature, resistant to cracking yet has some flexibility, it is safe and withstands moisture. It can also look good ! The percentage of packaging to ice cream is reasonable – for example it is about 4% in the 1 litre tub.

    We try to find local suppliers if possible – for example our labels and plastic pellets both come from Belgium (former supplier for PP was in Israel – this change alone reduced the transport miles by over 2800 miles) and our colour ‘masterbatch’ pellets come from Wales. We avoid adding unnecessary dye – for example all our 1 litre tubs are natural opaque colour of the plastic. (with decoration and colour coming from the label only)

    PP is recyclable – and we display the “widely recycled” logo on the tub.

    The current limits are set on this by the number of local recycling facilities – about 50% of councils collect to recycle at the moment. Recycled PP plastic is made into things like autoparts, paint pots, bike racks, brooms, garden rakes, shipping containers and storage bins.

    Here is a source of  recycling locator information: https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling

    REUSABLE plastic tubs have the benefit of being reusable – they are safe to wash in a dishwasher and can be used for a wide range of other types of storage.

  • Not at the moment – although this may become possible –  at least to some degree. There is certainly interest from all levels of the supply chain – retailers, brand owners, food manufacturers and packaging manufacturers – in using recycled PP, if a recycling system existed that could meet regulatory standards and company food performance standards.

    At the moment there is sufficient market out-with the food sector for the recycled product and there are technical and legal challenges that need to be overcome before recycled PP can be used for food contact packaging. They include developing a cost-effective system to obtain efficient separation of food contact and non-food contact PP containers in household waste; ensuring contaminants (from misuse of food containers in a second use, external contamination, processing additives and printing inks) are removed from the PP in order to meet the standards set by the EFSA; and obtaining recycled product with acceptable colour and odour. Further work is required to ensure the product is suitable for ice cream packaging – which must be resistant to moisture and extreme temperatures.

  • We think that the jury is still out on this – there is no clear answer.

    There are various accredited suppliers who produce from sustainable sources.

    However, most cardboard tubs for use with ice cream are made of a special type of paper which includes a plastic lining of polyethylene to ensure it won’t break down under extreme temperatures.  This polyethylene can pose a challenge to recycling – because recycling usually involves adding water to turn it into a pulp – the PE is water resistant so prevents the pulping process. Higher intensity conditions are required to break it down. If the recycled material is then made into something else the PE can create holes or breaks in the new product – causing it to tear or be unusable.

  • Probably not, although the environmental cost of waste plastic and the volume of single use plastic is understandably under scrutiny. We commissioned an expert audit on our packaging choice and are keen to keep up with innovation in this sphere. We are confident that our packaging and plastic suppliers are also committed to finding solutions which are best for the environment and designed for a circular economy.

    Both Plastic and Cardboard packaging for ice cream have challenges – recycling facilities also vary regionally for both. We don’t think that there is conclusive evidence on which “is best for the climate” at the moment.

    It does take more CO2E to make a tonne of plastic packaging than the energy to make a tonne of coated cardboard – (3.07 v 1.16 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of packaging) however these energy figures do not include the energy needed to form the cardboard tub or any carbon off setting for our renewable energy.

    Both plastic and cardboard are RECYCLABLE, but on balance the coated cardboard product may be more difficult to recycle. Cardboard with over 10% PE coating is not recyclable. 

    Plastic tubs are better for being RE-USED for other purposes. Empty plastic tubs can be useful for all sorts of things – “we love your tubs “ – from storage of other foods in the freezer  (warning – it can cause some disappointment to find that it’s not ice cream inside!) to various other creative ideas from plant pots, gift holders, bird feeders, storage for pens and tools or a sandwich box!

  • We receive messages from some of our customers with varied opinions on plastic & cardboard – more evidence that there is no 100% clear best choice at the moment.

    Some believe that plastic is bad – “I hate plastic waste” and “cardboard is much better for the planet and recycling” while others believe that Plastic is perfect – “don’t belittle your product with flimsy cardboard!” Many people feel that the cardboard tub is not strong enough – so that if you take the tub in and out of the freezer, it crumples and it is difficult to scoop out the ice cream.

  • We aim to keep plastic and packaging developments under review and will work with our suppliers to continually improve and try any new options as they become available.

    We will buy ingredients as locally as we can and we limit the use of colour (eg we removed black from the Madagascan Vanilla tub to make that product easier to recycle).