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

Tunnock's, one of Scotland's leading confectionery brands, has rebranded as British - in a bid to break into the Japanese market.

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 Lanarkshire-based firm has added the Union flag and a ‘Made in Great Britain’ message to new packaging, just 18 months after running an advertising campaign on the London Underground with the slogan ‘The Great British Tea Cake’.

Critics slammed the firm for ‘playing down’ its Scottish roots and for omitting the Lion Rampant logo - an integral part of the Tunnock’s brand since 1890 - from the adverts.

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Protesters demonstrated outside the company’s Uddingston factory and attempted to discourage consumers from purchasing the firm’s products.

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

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.”

Japan’s passion for British goods has no doubt contributed to the firm’s decision to market their products differently. A gift pack of chocolate cream wafers due to be sold in Asia, eschews any mention of Scotland and instead featrues blue, white and red stripes.

Tunnock’s export chief Alan Burnett confirmed that the new packaging had been created in a bid to make waves in the Asian market.

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

Mr Burnett told The Times: “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.”

Tunnock’s first struck a deal with Japan in 1983, setting up a distribution deal on Okinawa island, and in June sent 650,000 biscuits to the country, with plans for further deliveries in September and December.

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

But, Mr Burnett revealed, it’s unlikely that one of Tunnock’s most famous products will prove a hit in Japan.

“The Japanese don’t like caramel wafers,” he explained. “It’s a cultural thing - they say they are too chewy.”