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Tesco Has Removed The Scotland Flag From Fruit After English Complaints

This hasn't gone down very well north of the border.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Pro-independence voter Eileen Brown tweeted Tesco to ask why the saltire had gone missing from her raspberries, and she suspected anti-Scottish racism.

@Tesco used to mark Scottish produce with saltire (our flag). Now you use Union flag. Plse say why. Is it #casualracism? #Scotland

After a few hours, Tesco offered this surprising explanation over the space of five tweets.

@BRWombat Hi Eileen, over the past year, we received several customer complaints regarding Scottish flags on strawberries in England. 1/5

The Scottish flag has disappeared, it explained, because people in England were unhappy about it.

@BRWombat English customers criticised us why we do not apply the English flag on English berries and why we do for Scottish berries. 2/5

It has instead been replaced by the union flag, which isn't much consolation for pro-independence Scots.

@BRWombat When the category went through corporate re-design, it was decided to have British packaging only to avoid further criticism. 3/5


Although the packaging still does say if the fruit came from Scotland or elsewhere.

@BRWombat Product origin is printed on each punnet ie customers in Scotland will be allocated with Scottish fruit and this is visible. 4/5

Satisfied that it had sorted the problem, the Tesco account concluded its chain of tweets.

@BRWombat I really hope this helps Eileen? If you need any further help please get in touch. Thanks - Ieuan 5/5

But that was to underestimate the tenacity of Scottish nationalists on Twitter, who suggested a counter-complaint campaign.

@Tesco @BRWombat So if you receive several complaints about the Union flag on Scottish produce from Scotland you will stop that as well?

This Yes voter wanted to complain about the use of the union flag as it allegedly represents "xenophobia and genocide".

@Tesco Wish to complain about use of union flag. Represents xenophopia and genocide the world over. Please remove from products!


This woman condemned the actions as "shocking".

@jacquieb51 @Tesco @BRWombat absolutely shocking Tesco . . . . if the produce comes from Scotland, you put a scottish flag on it!!!

While this man, who said he was a Tesco shareholder, placed pressure on the company to reverse its decision.

@tesco as a shareholder, I hope you will be putting the Scottish flag back on packets of strawberries / raspberries if grown in Scotland

Morag Kerr was unhappy with Tesco's actions.

@Tesco Reasonable point if you weren't putting the English flag on English products, but entirely the wrong response. Very unhappy customer.

And this man described it as a farce.

It doesn't even bother me seeing UJ on products,it's just a flag, but it is a farce @Tesco would remove the saltire to please little England


This guy wants to be sure he's buying Norfolk carrots.

@Tesco I want the Norfolk flag on my carrots.

And this one will only accept the finest Scottish mangos.

I noticed there was no saltire flag in the mangos in my local Tesco, is this casual racism? I won't buy mangos unless I know theyre Scottish

All things considered, it was another fascinating evening on Scottish Twitter.

Night Twitter. Everyday you bring me untold riches. Today it was nationalist objections to the union flag on Tesco's Scottish strawberries.



BuzzFeed News asked Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon what her response to the Tesco strawberry incident was at her monthly press conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

"I’ve been standing here thinking I can’t believe I’ve got through this with no one asking about flags on punnets of strawberries," the first minister said. "You can tell it’s August, with everything else that’s going on in the world I’m being asked about flags on punnets of strawberries.

"I am very proud of the saltire, and I tend not to make my purchasing decisions in Tesco on the basis of the flags on the packaging. Of course there’s a serious point here in terms of origin of produce, and the saltire on Scotland-produced goods is an important marketing tool for us.

"Perhaps we should reflect and wonder what the response may be if this story was in reverse – if the Union Jack was being removed from packaging because of complaints in Scotland. Hopefully, in whatever way this happens, common sense and prevail and we can all be happy."

The first minister concluded: "Strawberries from Scotland are just the best strawberries, that’s why we should eat them – not because of the flag that happens to be on their packaging."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

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