Provenance has long played an important part in the marketing mix for major players such as shortbread producer Walkers, Baxters and Highland Spring.

Baxters has shown consistent revenue growth over the past five years across all its categories. Promotional activity is currently focusing on chutney, and the company's speciality range has been sampled in a barbecue setting at more than 120 supermarkets throughout the UK.

But now other brands, particularly those in the burgeoning bottled water sector, are getting in on the act too.

Scotland has had the fastest growth in bottled water consumption in the UK, partly thanks to the demand for healthier products.

The health message is key to the marketing messages of mineral water brand Purely Scottish.

"We are working with sporting partners, encouraging Scots of all ages to drink more water, and aligning ourselves with government initiatives to help reduce obesity and promote a healthier approach to the traditional Scottish diet," says managing director Chris Keenan.

Under the strapline 'You drink, we donate!', Purely Scottish will make a donation to the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Rugby for every litre of water it sells. Alex McLeish, manager of Scotland's national football team, has added his weight to the campaign. "At a time when the nation's health is so important, the Purely Scottish campaign can play a key role," he says.

The bigger brands, too, have been active. Highland Spring is the number one bottled water brand in multiple grocers in Scotland, with a 14.1% market share. TGI figures show that it also has the greatest number of loyal consumers in Scotland, with 73% buying the brand most often.

Marketing director Sally Stanley believes that sales have been driven by the strong affinity Scottish consumers have for the brand.

"This reinforces the strong loyalty Scottish consumers feel for Scottish products, and reflects the fact that 87% of Scottish consumers believe Scotland to be the home of the purest, freshest bottled water," she says.

Children's bottled water remains one of the fastest-growing parts of the sector. Consumption of bottled water by children grew 18% from December 2006, according to TNS Worldpanel. To maintain its market share, Highland Spring recently launched a sparkling version of its children's brand in a multipack format to suit the lunchbox occasion.

However, activity hasn't been exclusive to water brands. Strathmore Foods has made a big play of the Scottish roots of its bestselling McIntosh ready meals, including mince & tatties; haggis, neeps & tatties; and Scottish stovies, which are only available in Scottish stores. Since it took over the brand three years ago, sales have leapt 217% thanks to improved recipes, refreshed packaging and a range rationalisation, says chief executive Colin Muir.

McIntosh now has a 5% market share of the chilled ready meals market in Scotland, which is worth £49.5m across Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Somerfield.

"Our products appeal to consumers seeking convenience foods that are ready to heat in a microwave," says Muir. There are now plans to roll them out across the rest of the UK.

New to the market is McIntosh Scottish Porridge, a heat-and-eat traditional porridge. "Porridge is a healthy, traditional breakfast and we have brought it into today's world by presenting it in a convenient format," says Muir.

Meanwhile, Scotland continues to set the benchmark for quality smoked products.

The Rannoch Smokery has turned a niche product into a mainstream success with its range of smoked meat and poultry, smoked pâtés, fruit chutneys and smoked cheeses.

Since taking over the business from his father in 2000, Richard Barclay has seen turnover increase to £1.2m as consumers become more confident in experimenting with smoked meat and game products.

"Sales increased 20% last year and we anticipate that this growth will continue," he says.

It's an optimistic outlook shared by many Scots suppliers. n