Moray-based Walkers, a manufacturer of shortbread, biscuits, cookies and crackers which are sold in over 60 countries worldwide, is facing furious backlash online after it emerged the company has replaced the Saltire to the British flag on exports.
A Facebook post which shows a Walkers biscuit tin on a shelf in a German supermarket sparked the debate on social media about how Scottish products are marketed in foreign countries.
Alison Brown, from Dundee, shared the post on her timeline on Monday which has since gone viral, with over 900 shares in less than 24 hours.
The post reads: “It breaks my heart! This is how Walkers are marketing our famous Scottish shortbread in Germany! Our hard won Scottish branding is being systematically destroyed! For what? To protect their Union! I feel so sad and angry.”
Some angry social media users have taken to complain about the branding on Walkers’ Facebook page, with Craig Dunnan posting: “Every year l spend £30-£40 on Scottish shortbread for friends abroad. Now our shortbread is having the Union flag imposed and emblazoned on it. Stuff your shortbread Walkers ~ plenty of other manufacturers to buy from. Scottish products - Scottish flag.”
However, since Brown’s first post, she added her friend informed her the firm was set to return to the Saltire after admitting a “terrible marketing faux pas”.
Roger Shepherd wrote: “Having spoken to Mr Walker, the board had an emergency meeting today, realising that this one product out of 3000 walker products wrapped in the union jack was in fact a terrible marketing faux pas, and this packaging will be changed to their usual tartan design. It’s cost them more in loss of credibility and confusing marketing as well as loyal customers who now have decided to buy shortbread products elsewhere.”
Some people still aren’t convinced though, with Margaret Ann Lindsay adding: “Still won’t buy it. Damage done to the environment as well as credibility. Sorry, my stance sticks”
A spokesperson for Walkers Shortbread said: “We are a family company which has been established in the Highlands of Scotland for 120 years.
“We take great pride in our Scottish heritage, and we work closely within our community as a key employer for our area, Speyside. We have a dedicated and loyal local workforce of long term employees, and the family values of the company come from generations of family ownership.
“One of our key business principles is maintaining our manufacturing in Scotland for the long run and this is what we as a business and family strive for.
“The Walker family would like to clarify that the Union Jack Keepsake tin is one of many tins currently available, each of which is designed to celebrate an array of places and events and includes the launch of the Love Scotland Keepsake range at the start of the year.
“We strive continuously to offer a wide range of products to suit our global customer base.”