English haggis sales bring £8.8million to Scotland


By Michael MacLeod

HAGGIS lovers in England have helped sales of Scotland’s national dish to soared by a fifth, with some suppliers struggling to keep up with demand.

Haggis, neeps and tatties

As Scots around the world prepare to once again celebrate Burns Night in style, new figures show that demand for haggis in England is going through the roof.

English haggis lovers are said to be particularly keen on microwavable haggis, which can be cooked within 60 seconds.

The sheep-sourced dish is worth £8.8million on UK sales alone, new figures revealed today (Monday).

Among the producers cashing in is Falkirk firm Malcolm Allan, who secured a lucrative contract to supply 25,000 haggis to Tesco’s English stores.

Gordon Allan, a director of Malcolm Allan, said his staff worked nightshifts to make sure all their customers had a haggis in time to toast Scotland’s most famous poet.

He said: “It’s been hectic but we got there in the end.

“We’ve done a lot of business with Tesco in Scotland over the years but this is the first time we’re sending haggis to their stores all over Britain.

“Over a five-day period, our 120 staff worked nightshifts to fill the order.”

Official figures show haggis brought in £6.4million in 2007, but rocketed to £8.8 million in 2009.

Another leading haggis maker, Macsween of Edinburgh, reported a total sales increase of 20 per-cent for 2009, and an increase of 25 per-cent in the run up to Burns Night 2010.

Their director Jo Macsween said: “We are celebrating another record year taking our haggis into new products, new recipes and new shops.

“Our sales have increased and this growth has been particularly marked in England and we are also bowled over by the consumer response to our new microwaveable one-minute haggis.

“Last year was very good for the Macsween business, not only in sales terms, but in the strides that we made to improve our environmental management.”

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the latest vote of confidence in Scottish produce.

He said: “The impressive increase in haggis sales suggests demand for our national dish is at an all-time high.

“Tucking into a plate of delicious haggis, neeps and tatties this Burns Night is also a vote of confidence in our great farmers.

“Homecoming and the World Famous Burns Supper Celebration played a key role in raising the profile of our iconic national dish.

“Through our national food and drink policy it’s important that we continue to work with all parts of the sector to build on Scotland’s food revolution.”

Now farmers and butchers are aiming to use Burns Night as a launch pad to keep sales high.

Laurent Vernet, of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “Butchers are also reporting that haggis is increasingly being enjoyed not only on Burns Night, but all year round.”