“Product Origin – Scotland”: A Review of Industry Practice and Evidence

The information presented in this report was gathered from a number of sources. Firstly reviews were made of reports and information on the Scottish, UK and wider food and drink sectors. Secondly interviews were undertaken with some key players in all sectors of the industry.

The objectives of this project are:

i. To set out the statutory regime within Scotland, the UK and EU for product origin labelling.
ii. To investigate industry practice on “Scottish” labelling and branding initiatives.
iii. To review evidence on consumer understanding and awareness of “Scottish” labelling and branding.
iv. To identify current practice internationally with regard to national origin labelling schemes.

The majority, (100 of all 113 respondents) indicated that their main products carried some form of origin labelling. Of these:

– 29 labelled product origin according to a particular region or local area.
– 39 cited Scotland.
– 16 used some combination of regional/local and Scotland.
– 6 respondents labelled origin as UK.
– 3 respondents used some combination of regional/Scotland/UK.
– There were 7 mentions of “other”.

Origin may be presented via straightforward “Made in..” or “Product of..” statements, or recognisable names, terms or words in dialect or language, or icons, symbols or other pictorial images. Many consumers do store positive images about Scotland but there are some ambiguities and positive feelings do not always translate into purchasing behaviour. Evidence also suggests some consumer confusion over Scottish origin labels.

There is confusion amongst producers and consumers about the terms used to describe food and drink products as of Scottish origin. If terms such as “Made in Scotland” and “Product of Scotland” are to be used to convey different messages then there will need to be an effective educational campaign to ensure public understanding. While the positive associations with Scotland were widely recognised so too were the risks of devaluing through the overuse or inappropriate use of terms such as “made in” or “product of” Scotland.

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