Scotland’s most recognisable shortbread brand, Walkers, had a humble beginning, just over a hundred years ago, in the Speyside village of Aberlour.
Now, Walkers shortbread is sold all over the world, and the tartan packaging is a trusted symbol of Scottish baking at its best.
In 1898, Joseph Walker founded his own company, with the aim of producing the finest shortbread.
His “founder’s guarantee”, which is still marked on every pack, assures that all the ingredients used to make Walkers shortbread are of the highest possible quality.
The recipe that Joseph Walker used is the recipe still being used by his descendants today.
There are no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives in Walkers shortbread, only flour, creamery butter, sugar and salt.
Despite all the new products and flavours – such as chocolate, vanilla, almond and ginger – that have been added over the decades, all Walkers shortbread has the same, simple base of ingredients.
Although Walkers shortbread is sold all over the world, it is still made in small batches to ensure it retains its authentic taste.
The equipment may have been modernised to meet demands, but the attention to detail and emphasis on consistent quality is the same as it ever was.
However, shortbread is not the only treat that Walkers bakes. Oatcakes and fruitcakes are now part of the modern brand, all united by the iconic red tartan packaging.
The shortbread also comes in many shapes and sizes, including rounds, fingers, petticoat tails, and even Scottie dogs, thistles, or sheep.
This great variety leads to a whopping total of 98 products on sale, so every taste can be satisfied.
Walkers products have also won a number of awards over the past decade, including 3 stars from the iTQi Superior Taste Awards for their Highlanders and Homebake rounds. In addition, they have won a Green Apple Gold Award, and a Good Egg Award, due to their policy of using free range eggs.
Walkers are also dedicated to their local community and environment. They support the RSPB’s ‘Give Nature a Home’ campaign, which involves expanding the natural tree line at Abernathy National Nature Reserve.
Walkers also invests in woodlands and farmland around Aberlour, and makes sure that the land is managed sustainably.
The Scottish offices for Walkers can be found at Aberlour House, which was used as headquarters for the Gordon Highlanders 51st division during the Second World War, and, more recently, as a prep school.
Walkers have restored the building to its original condition, and employed an estate manager and two gardeners to look after the grounds. Local scout troupes and schoolchildren have been allowed to use the grounds for camping trips and rural studies.
From its home in the Highlands, Walkers has spread across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its authentic, Scottish origins. Their dedication to their founder’s original vision will stand them in good stead for years to come.