Bakery: hard selling the family tartan There's no resting on laurels for Walkers or Tunnocks as Karen Dempsey discovers The Scots are renowned for having a sweet tooth ­ and they are also getting cannier at encouraging the rest of the world to indulge too. As such, the Scottish bakery and confectionery industry is becoming increasingly more successful at selling itself beyond the Scottish borders. One of the most ubiquitous Scottish exports is shortbread ­ and one of the first brands that springs to mind is Walkers. Around 45% of Walkers production is exported, which the company says, is the highest percentage of any UK biscuit manufacturer. The biggest market outside the UK is the US and Walkers' md James Walker points out that it's the only company to win the Queen's Award for Export three times. Walkers Shortbread Fingers continue to be its best-selling product. Walker says: "We still experience a strong seasonal influence but the shortbread market is becoming more all year round'". But there's no resting on laurels for Walkers. It has pledged commitment to innovation and this year it has launched vanilla shortbread and increased its organic product range. Walkers is brazen about flying the tartan flag and exploiting its Scottish heritage ­ something which helps boost sales abroad. Walker says: "We are not ashamed to capitalise on the Scottish heritage of our products and our company. We use our Scottishness to maximum effect on our packaging." The Scottish appeal of the Tunnocks brand also show no signs of abating. A family business that began as a bakers in 1890 and moved to manufacturing biscuit products in 1950, Tunnocks now exports to 38 countries around the world. The Tunnocks appeal, says sales manager Jim Henderson, is that "when people buy a Tunnocks product today it's exactly the same as it was in the 1950s". It is also rigid on its pricing. While there has been no price rise in the last four years, the company also never does bogofs. Henderson says: "There is no way we'd change our quality to meet people's promotional and price requirements." Currently 4.5m Caramel Wafers and 3.5m milk chocolate teacakes (the company's best selling lines in England) go out each week from its factory at Uddingston. Demand for teacakes has gone through the roof in the last two years, says Henderson, and it is investing £4.5m on machinery to help meet demand. Volume sales have increased by over 30% in England in that period. As a company in total, in England volume sales were up 12.5% in 1998 and by over 9% in 1999. The newest product to come out of Tunnocks is the Milk Chocolate Florida Orange Wafer. Henderson says that response has been extremely positive to its launch and the wafer achieved initial listings in Sainsbury and Waitrose as well as in the wholesale and cash and carry sectors. He expects distribution to roll out nationally from this month. But it is not just sweet products that are part of Scottish bakers and confectioners' NPD plans. The traditional oatcake is seeing a bit of a surge, particularly in England. Walkers has noticed oatcake growth south of the border. And now Dean's of Huntly, best known as a shortbread maker, is bringing out a new Dean's oatcake. Sales director Scott Kelman says: "Until now our focus has been on shortbread. In the past five years we have more than doubled our business. Our oatcakes offer a slightly differnt proposition to other products which will help to stimulate and grow the market." {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}