Top 50 Scottish Brands 2021: Pandemic winds continue to blow

Questions remain, but some categories are still benefitting from lockdown trends

Lesley Ann’s overview

smaller-lesley-ann-of-kantar-headshotLESLEY Ann Gray, strategic lead for Scotland at market research company Kantar – which provides the listing of the top 50 Scottish non-alcohol brands in Scotland and the Top 10 Scottish alcohol brands in Scotland – analyses the year for the leading Scottish brands in Scottish food and drink retailing.

ONCE again congratulations to all the brands that have made it onto the list especially when shoppers are still exhibiting behaviours that we haven’t seen before.

At Kantar it is now standard practise to compare 2021 with 2019 to get a better sense of just how much behaviour has changed over the last 20 months.

The big question we are now asked is whether we have reverted back to our previous normal? There is no clear answer to this and when we look at our data, we see that it is influenced by our life stage, where we work and our economic confidence.

What we are seeing is an evolution of how consumers shop that has been accelerated by the events of the last two years.

This change hasn’t impacted the list of brands that appear on this year’s list as much as you may think due to their reliance on mainstream retailers.

Versus last year there are four new entries, 13 of the brands have stayed at the same position, 20 brands moved up and 23 brands fell.

Some of these brands will have benefited from the tailwinds in the market.

If we look at two categories where brands are important the dairy category grew at twice the rate of biscuits.

If you supply the dairy sector, you would have benefited from this category growth versus biscuits which grew behind the total market.

The biggest tailwind of all has been for the alcohol brands who have benefited from consistent double-digit growth ahead of the market as the on-trade suffered.

In terms of overall growth what is encouraging if you are a brand manufacturer is that 48% of Scotland’s food and drink value comes from brands and – once again – they outpaced own label growth, growing at twice the rate.

In addition, continuous research shows that the ability to buy products that have been made locally remains important to Scottish consumers versus the GB population as a whole.

If we look back over the last year at how shoppers have interacted with these brands it is the online channel that has seen the biggest increase in market share and it now commands 12% of grocery value, compared to 5%, 5 years ago.

However further analysis shows that this channel has lost some of the shoppers it gained at the start of the pandemic as shoppers enjoy getting out more and shopping around.

Despite this, the number of fascias we visit is still not back to 2019 levels reinforcing the mantra that your brand should be available in as many places as possible to ensure you have the greatest chance of growth.

Online has always had the greatest benefit to shoppers who are doing their main shop and if this channel is to grow in the future one of the challenges it will face is how it captures more of the smaller basket spend.

The other threat on the horizon for online is the behemoth Amazon and how it will disrupt our behaviour, 70% of Amazon shoppers have bought groceries from Amazon and its investment in checkout free stores shows that it looks set to disrupt in the future.

Whilst the convenience channel increased its share at the start it is now back to its pre-pandemic levels at 9% share of total grocery, and it is our prediction that will continue.

The innovation and development of the rapid delivery apps have played their part in helping the independents and symbol groups to compete against the more established online players.

In addition, the strong community initiatives that are intrinsic to this sector have also re-established the vital part they play in our communities.


Top 50 Scottish take-home food and drink brands in Scotland – excluding alcohol


Brand Rank 2021 Rank 2020 Moving up
1 Irn-Bru 1 1
2 Graham’s the Family Dairy 2 2
3 Malcolm Allan 3 4
4 Bells Food Group 4 5
5 Tunnock’s 5 9
6 Simon Howie 6 7
7 Mackie’s 7 10
8 Baxters 8 6
9 McIntosh 9 8
10 Seriously 10 3
11 Barr 11 11
12 JG Ross 12 13
13 Albert Bartlett 13 14
14 Hall’s 14 12
15 Scotty Brand 15 15
16 Highland Spring 16 16
17 Galloway Cheddar 17 NE
18 Border Biscuits 18 17
19 Scottish Blend 19 18
20 Rowan Glen 20 22
21 Nairn’s 21 20
22 We Hae Meat 22 25
23 Bliss 23 NE
24 Mac B 24 21
25 Buchanan’s (Golden Casket) 25 27
26 Mrs Tilly’s 26 33
27 Tarbert Fine Foods 27 26
28 Mackays  28 30
29 Highland Game 29 31
30 Marshalls 30 24
31 Paterson’s 31 32
32 Genius 32 23
33 Lawsons 33 29
34 Brownings 34 34
35 Macsween 35 35
36 Scott’s 36 28
37 Big + Scottish 37 39
38 Mrs Unis 38 40
39 Dean’s 39 42
40 Glenrath 40 37
41 Orkney 41 NE
42 Punjab Pakora 42 NE
43 Hamlyns 43 38
44 Calder Millerfield 44 36
45 Scottish Favourites 45 41
46 Stockan’s 46 44
47 Stoats 47 46
48 Castle Maclellan 48 49
49 Swankies 49 47
50 Macleans Highland Bakery 50 43


This list is compiled using total value sales for each brand for the 52 week period to 21 September 2021 for Scotland. It is produced for Scottish Grocer and is different to the Kantar Brand Footprint which measures brand frequency and penetration (consumer reach points).