Vic Robertson
Booming sales of Scotch beef on both sides of the border have been reported by Tesco.
The retailer said that sales of its Finest Scotch Beef range are growing at around 25% a year, or five times the industry average, with sales particularly strong in England.
The range is sourced from 1,300 farms across Scotland and processed at McIntosh Donald at Portlethen, near Aberdeen.
Tesco is now planning to add a further 200 suppliers in the next 12 months and increase the headage count from 80,000 cattle to 85,000. These increases will lead to the creation of a further 60 jobs at Portlethen.
Matt Simister, Tesco's head of red meat, said: "Our customers across the UK know that Scottish beef is the very best quality and we have seen phenomenal growth in demand across all our finest beef lines."
The announcement has been welcomed as "great news for farmers across Scotland" by Ralph Green, managing director of McIntosh Donald.
Tesco claims to be Scottish agriculture's biggest customer, taking supplies of fresh produce from 450 Scottish farmers and growers.
It has also doubled its cheese orders in the past year, selling over 8,000 tonnes.
It has also recently appointed Pamela Campbell as its Scottish marketing manager to increase sales of home produced foods through its 76 stores in Scotland.