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Macsween of Edinburgh quality assistant, Lauren Boyle, tells us about her day at the haggis factory

It’s a long day at the haggis factory

Published: December 22, 2021


My first alarm goes off at 5.20am but most days I don’t get out of bed until around 5.50am. As much I try to be a morning person, I treasure that extra 30 minutes in bed. Ideally, I would have time to rustle up a nice breakfast, but during the week I tend to grab something quick as I head out the door.


My morning commute sets me up for the day and I take time to enjoy a leisurely stroll to the bus stop. On the bus, I have time to gather my thoughts as I gaze out the window.


I begin each working day by collecting batches of products made in the factory the day before to prepare them in the lab. This is an important step in determining the quality and consistency of the products. Once I’ve made sure that our haggis, vegetarian haggis and black pudding products have passed the relevant checks, they are released into the supply chain to make their way to plates across the UK and beyond.


After completing some more of my regular tests and food sample analysis, I’m tasked with one of my favourite jobs: the tasting panel. Every few weeks my team gets together to taste and analyse our products and work on exciting new developments. I’ve got to be able to recognise whether samples contain the perfect balance of subtle elements such as spice and texture, so I’m training my nose and palate to pick up on these things in addition to my lab work.

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After lunch, I make my way down to the factory floor - it’s brilliant being immersed in the hustle and bustle. From analysing swabs of machinery to performing calibration checks to make sure the machines are in high working order, there are lots of procedures to keep me busy. It continues to fascinate me how important every detail and change can be in the overall food production process.


I leave work and try to make the most of the evening by meeting up with a friend for a walk and a take-away coffee from a lovely small business in Edinburgh. I’ll never tire of exploring the city.

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Although I work with food all day, I still get excited about coming home to prepare dinner and try out new recipes. I don’t always eat haggis for dinner, but tonight I’m whipping up a quick vegetarian haggis taco recipe. My partner enjoys cooking too, so we use this time to catch up on how our days have been.


My evening activities have changed since the start of the pandemic. Usually, I’d spend my evenings soaking up Edinburgh’s music scene. Now, I get my music fix by popping on the radio whilst I finish my 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle - not quite so rock and roll.

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I start winding down for the night at 9pm. I’m a big fan of juicy crime dramas so these sometimes keep me up late, then it’s time for bed and the cycle begins all over again.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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