Tunnock’s storm in a Teacake

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | January 5, 2016 0

Tea time favourite Tunnock’s has been accused of abandoning its Scottish heritage with a new advert on the London Underground network. In an effort to sell more teacakes in England, Tunnock’s has distanced itself from its Scottish heritage by removing the Scottish Lion Rampant from packaging.

The move has angered Scottish nationalists online after the company placed an advertisement on the London Underground describing the cake as “The Great British Tea Cake.” Many have suggested that the removal of the lion – the company’s symbol since 1890 – and the new wording indicate that the company is abandoning its Scottish roots.  Some have even branded the company traitors and have called for a boycott of the brand and its products, with Gary Elliot, an SNP member, writing: “Rebranding is one thing. What Tunnocks did was a brazen rejection of Scotland.”


Pat Kane, the Hue and Cry vocalist and political commentator, said the move was “a bit inept” adding: “Londoners I know love the Scottishness of Tunnock’s.” The posters branded the famous and well-loved treat as the “Great British Tea Cake” in a move which has angered some Scots. Managing director Boyd Tunnock said the advert on the Tube network was “simply a nod” to the BBC show the Great British Bake Off and was not a way to ditch the Lanarkshire-based firm’s Scottish roots.

Mr Tunnock told Radio Scotland: “The advert we put in London was a sort of spoof of the British Bake Off. It was my son-in-law who suggested this and I thought it was okay.” But he later told Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show: “We’re in Britain, that’s what we say. We are advertising the Great British Tea Cake because we had a referendum here and 55 per cent of Scottish people wanted to be in Britain and that’s why we’re calling it the British tea cake.”

But one SNP member CyberNat posted on Twitter the move was a “brazen rejection of Scotland”. Another independence supporter posted: “Imagine if Guinness had said they wouldn’t promote Ireland or Toblerone saying they wouldn’t promote Switzerland.”

Despite all of this, Boyd Tunnock, the company’s managing director, told The Times: “The campaign was purely focused on selling more products down south. There are five million people in Scotland and over 50 million in England. It was a simple business decision. Although quite a few people have begun tweeting #BoycottTunnocks, many have also tweeted out their support for the company and have suggested their fellow Scots should support the company branching out to a wider market.

Mr Tunnock branded the furore a “storm in a tea cake” and said the lion rampant image had not been removed from the packaging as some people had claimed. The family-run Tunnock’s firm was established in 1890 and sells an estimated 3.5 million tea cakes each week.

Somehow I think Tunnock’s will survive despite the rants of the  Wee Nats.


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