The Scotland the Brand scheme, launched by Scottish Enterprise in November 1997, has exceeded even its own expectations of membership numbers, with a current total of 320. Around 50% of these are food and drink companies emphasising how Scotland's image of environmental purity benefits their products, and also how important the industry is to Scotland. The scheme has another two years of funding from Scottish Enterprise during which it has to prepare itself for privatisation in April 2003. Theresa Houston, who took over as CEO in May 2001, says a shadow board will be appointed to develop a business plan. She expects membership to continue to rise as Scotland carries a sense of "reassurance" in the face of food scares but says the strategy will be to maintain as much exclusivity as possible. New members ­ who have to undergo a rigorous and mandatory assessment and whose products are manufactured, controlled, operated and originated from Scotland ­ will come mainly from referrals. Alasdair Cox, marketing manager of Grampian Foods, says the company uses the image on products from its Scottish factories, even though it does not actively promote Scottishness. He says it works particularly well in Scotland. "The Scots are very patriotic," he adds. "South of the border, people are not so worried about provenance; they're more interested in price. As far as own label commodity products like whole chickens, Scotland the Brand probably doesn't add anything." And the scheme will probably never extend across all of Scotland's bigger players. Baxters for example, says it believes it is valuable to smaller companies, but prefers to be in control of its own Scottishness. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}