"Our most recent research tells us that 48% of customers in Scotland are already buying more Scottish products, and far from simply choosing whisky and shortbread, they're looking for Scottish garlic and dairy, local raspberries and strawberries, daffodils, locally reared beef, poultry, pork, lamb and even iceberg lettuce from Fife," says Sarah Mackie, Tesco's category director, local.
"Scotland isn't nearly as well known for its fantastic food and drink as it deserves to be", she adds. Tesco has captured 33% of the grocery market in Scotland, according to Kantar, with sales of Scottish products across the UK as a whole now worth £2bn to the chain. It carries 1,500 Scottish lines, 115 of them introduced in the past year.
Scottish shoppers are 22% more likely than those elsewhere in the UK to agree that 'price is the most important factor when shopping', according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel research.
This is reflected in the current line-up of Scottish retail muscle, says Mark Thomson, Kantar's business unit director, pointing to Asda, with its lower prices, and the discounters putting in stronger performances over the last quarter than they have done south of the border.
Tesco has succeeded in Scotland by understanding this price sensitivity, says Mackie. "Scottish provenance is very important to our customers, but they don't want to pay a premium for it." Get the price right, though, and there's plenty of domestic appetite for Scottish food and drink products. The Kantar Worldpanel research reveals that Scottish consumers are now 21% more likely to agree with the statement 'I buy local when I can', and 17% more likely to 'support regional food producers' than those in the rest of the UK.
According to TV chef turned food producer Nick Nairn, Tesco has "worked extremely hard in Scotland and is now enjoying dividends".
The chain's rivals are starting to play catchup, though. Sainsbury's now boasts 50 stores in Scotland stocking some 1,500 Scottish-sourced products and plans to open new stores in Kelso, Nairn and Irvine, together with store extensions at Linlithgow, Stirling and East Kilbride and about 10 new convenience stores.
It is working hard to tackle its longstanding under-representation in the country, confirms a spokesman. "If you said our plans for Scotland were ambitious, you would be right," he says.
Focus On Scotland