Home-grown profits

Scottish products

Scottish shoppers love Scottish brands, that’s something we’ve always known – so it makes sense to not only stock a good range of Scottish home-grown products, but also to shout about it in-store and on social media.


Being the fine patriotic nation that it is, Scotland is renowned for both the quality of its products and the dedication of its consumers to home-grown food and drink. Local, regional and national sourcing is arguably more important than ever – which in part explains why we recently added a new Scottish Brands category to our SLR Rewards programme. Fittingly, that category was sponsored by one of the best loved Scottish brands of all, Barr Soft Drinks.

Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks, explains: “Scottish shoppers are loyal to Scottish brands and take pride in choosing local, regional and national products, with the top 30 Scottish brands selling 30% of sales value through Scotland. [Kantar, 2018]. Within that context, Scotland’s £294m convenience soft drinks category continues to be one of the most profitable categories for convenience retailers growing at 11% and the second-highest bought category in Scottish convenience, after newspapers [HIM, 2017].”

It will surprise few to learn that flavoured carbonates account for over one in five soft drinks products sold [IRI, May 2019], and the Scottish star of that particular show is the one and only Irn-Bru. Scotland’s other national drink is the number one Scottish grocery brand according to Kantar, and currently accounts for 55% of flavoured carbonate sales. Annual sales currently top £85m in Scotland.

Despite their reputation for not eating the healthiest of foods, it seems Scots are starting to make better choices; an IGD report from last year reported that 85% of shoppers said they were actively trying to improve their diet. Barr Soft Drinks thus advises retailers to offer shoppers all three variants of Irn-Bru prominently to attract shoppers to the fixture. Irn-Bru sugar-free is Scotland’s leading low calorie flavoured carbonate while Irn-Bru XTRA has generated £27m worth of additional sales for Scottish retailers since launch [IRI].

But stocking the right products will only take you so far. It’s vital that they are easy to find in-store, says Troy. “It is critical for Scottish retailers to prominently stock key Scottish brands to meet shopper expectations, and recent data shows that by giving the total Irn-Bru brand more prominence in your store, all three variants will benefit and drive your total category sales.

“The £17m Barr Family range is Scotland’s most popular range of flavours and offers unique, fun and exciting flavours that deliver on quality, taste and value. With 14 different flavours, offering great value for money, the range continues to appeal to a wide customer base.”

Never a brand to stand still, Irn-Bru launched its Irn-Bru Energy variant this year, Scotland’s biggest brand launch of 2019. “Energy is an exciting and fast-growing part of the soft drinks market delivering the highest profit per litre for retailers, with over four in 10 soft drinks sold in Scottish convenience stores being an energy drink [IRI, Jan 2019],” says Jonathan Kemp, Barr Soft Drinks Commercial Director.

“Scottish consumers spend 40% more on energy drinks than the rest of the market and 70% of Scottish energy consumers already drink Irn-Bru,” he adds.

Provenance and product benefits are growing in importance to consumers, particularly in relation to water. People not only look for water brands they know and trust, they are also conscious about the source of the water. Strathmore Scottish spring water is a quality, trusted brand in Scotland worth £17m and is the top selling water brand in the Scottish on-trade [CGA, Jun 2018].

Also worth keeping an eye out for at the moment is the Peterson Arran range and in particularly, the Paterson’s shortbread brand. The company was very recently acquired by Burton’s Biscuit Co and is set to benefit from being part of the UK’s second-largest biscuit manufacturer.

Shortbread remains a traditional Scottish product that is hugely popular with shoppers so it will be worth watching how the brand develops over the coming months and years as part of a bigger group.

Golden Casket is also helping retailers cash in on the interest of all things Scottish with a cheeky Iron Brew variant of its hugely popular Millions brand. Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, gluten-free and featuring 3% orange juice, the treats are suitable for all and are sure to be popular with shoppers.