2nd September 2019

Product Branding: Scots much more likely to buy products branded ’Scottish’ rather than ‘British’

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Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight 2019 is taking place right now until the 15th September. This year represents the 10th year of the Fortnight showcasing and supporting the companies, brands and people who are championing Scotland’s larder, enabling them to take advantage of the growing consumer demand for Scottish food and drink. To mark the occasion, the 56 Degree Insight team were keen to undertake a piece of consumer research to determine the importance of Scottish food and drinks being branded as either ‘Scottish’ or ‘British’ in our supermarkets. The results make for some interesting reading…


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Three years’ ago, in the summer of 2016, Tesco hit the headlines when they changed the name of its strawberries and replaced the Scottish saltire on the packaging with the union flag. The supermarket said it made the move after receiving complaints from customers in England and, as a result, it changed the branding to ‘British strawberries’ across all its stores, including in Scotland.

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This provoked a lot of bad press for Tesco in Scotland, and other supermarkets such as Sainsbury were quick to point to their retention of the ‘Scottish branding’.  Indeed, discount supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl have, if anything subsequently increased the Scottish branding of their local produce. 

What do Scots think in 2019?

National identity is extremely high on the agenda of many Scots at the moment – and given that this is the tenth year of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, the team at 56 Degree Insight wanted to establish how Scots felt about food and drink branding some 3 years’ on from the Tesco decision.

During the last two weeks of August, we interviewed 534 Scots using Kantar’s face-to-face in-home omnibus survey, the Scottish Opinion Survey.  This provided a representative sample of the Scots adult population, and we asked them a simple question:

When food shopping in Scotland, if you were to see two identical food items available at the same price, one with a UK flag and labelled ‘100% British product’ and the other with a Scottish flag and labelled ‘100% Scottish product’, which would you be more likely to buy?


The results make for some very interesting reading – and a clear direction to food manufacturers and retailers when selling Scottish produce within Scotland – the importance of using a Scottish branding is clear:  56% would choose the product branded ‘Scottish’ whereas only 4% would choose the ‘British’ labelling. The remaining 39% were ambivalent, saying it would ‘make no difference’.

There are some interesting demographic variations.  Older consumers were more likely to choose ‘Scottish’ over ‘British’ – 66% of those aged 45-64 compared with 43% of the under 35s.  It’s not that the younger group were more likely to buy ‘British’, they were simply more ambivalent (54% saying it would make no difference). Those living in Mid Scotland and Fife were most likely to buy products labelled ‘Scottish’ (69%), whilst those in the South (Borders and Dumfries & Galloway) were rather more likely to buy ‘British’ branded products (13%).  Despite that however, in the South, the overwhelming majority would choose a Scottish branded product (58%).

Of course, the survey was only undertaken amongst Scots residents – these same products branded as ‘Scottish’ south of the border, are likely to result in very different findings.  However, the research does indicate that by placing an emphasis on the Scottish roots and local provenance of a product, all other things being equal, it is significantly more likely to be chosen and placed in a shopping basket in Scotland.

For further information, or to discuss how the 56 Degree Insight team might help Scottish food and drink manufacturers better understand consumer needs and trends, please just get in touch with us.  Further information on Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight can be obtained online at the link below:

http://fooddrinkfort.scot and #ScotFoodFort19 on Twitter