Tunnock’s rebrands as British in bid to win over Japan

The Tunnock's factory in Uddingston. The Lion Rampant logo can be seen at the top of the building's frontage. Picture: Alan Watson
The Tunnock's factory in Uddingston. The Lion Rampant logo can be seen at the top of the building's frontage. Picture: Alan Watson
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One of Scotland’s most famous confectionery firms has added a Union flag to its iconic packaging in a bid to break into the lucrative Japanese market.

Tunnocks’s, famous for its signature caramel logs, wavers, teacakes and snowballs, currently has a masive 40ft shipping container of its waver creams on its way to Okinawa, due to arrive in September, with further shipments planned for September and December.

Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Cream Wafers are being marketed in Japan - but as 'British' products. Picture: Contributed

Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Cream Wafers are being marketed in Japan - but as 'British' products. Picture: Contributed

However, the company’s decision to rebrand itself by adding the British ensign and the words “Made in Great Britain” is likely to attract the ire of some angry nationalistic biscuit eaters in Scotland.

Last year it attracted protests outside its factory in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, and calls for a boycott of its products after it launched featuring its tea cakes on a silver cake stand and the slogan “The Great British Teacake”.

Last week representatives of Renho Japan Ltd visited the Uddingston factory to discuss plans for expansion in Japan.

Alan Burnett, the company’s export manager, said new packaging had been designed after the firm won orders for nearly two million biscuits.

“The branding is different, and, as you would expect, the writing is all in Japanese. However, it does have the Tunnock’s boy on it. You would recognise it instantly.

“Our products really seem to be taking off over there.”

Mr Burnett added: “Last year we got a Scottish Government grant which allowed us to take part in a major exhibition in Tokyo. That led to use securing quite a lot of new business.”

Tunnocks are sending caramel creams to Japan because the Japanese find caramel logs too “chewy” and the nearly seven week shipping transit time is not ideal for the tea cakes.

Scotland’s food and drink sales to Japan increased by nine per cent to a record £98.7 million in 2015.

Tunnock’s faced criticism 18 months ago when it ran an advertising campaign on the London Underground without its famous Lion Rampant logo.

Managing director Boyd Tunnock suggested at the time that he was more interested in promoting Britain, rather than Scotland.

Mr Tunnock told The Scotsman: “You’ve got the Great British Bake Off and things like that these days. We could have said Scottish but you’re then promoting Scotland. We’re British.”