10 things you (probably) didn't know about Scott's Porage Oats

Few Scottish brands are more famous than Scott's Porage Oats, with their porridge being enjoyed in Scotland for over 130 years.

Published 12th Sep 2023
Updated 10 th Oct 2023

But how much do you really know about this famous brand?

1. The Hound from the Game of Thrones grew big and strong on Scott's Porage Oats

Before he went onto become famous in Game of Thrones, the Hound (aka Rory McCann) was the face of Scott's Porage Oats.

We are guessing it's the secret as to how both he (and his brother the Mountain) grew to be so big.

Setting many hearts aflutter across the UK as he reached for the top shelf box of the famous Scottish porridge, Rory brought the kilted mascot to life for a new generation.

2. The man who inspired the kilted mascot was legendary Highland Games athlete Jay Scott


6ft 2in Jay Scott enjoyed worldwide fame in the 1950s and 1960s as a Highland Games heavyweight champion, his prodigious talents even attracted the attention of Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield.

Rumour has it, though, that he didn't know his image was being used by the porridge company.

According to son Rob, the first his dad knew about his picture being on the cereal packet was when a friend spotted it in a shop.

And, at the time, there were rumours that he didn't receive any payment from the oats company for the use of his image. "I think he only got a one-off payment when he approached them," says Rob.

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3. They chose their distinct name to stand out from the crowd

If you’re wondering about the company’s unique spelling of porridge, then that’s a marketing trick: to distinguish themselves from their rivals, they combined the spellings of “porridge” and “potage” – a French word for a thick soup – and ran with it from 1914 onwards.

They even made an advertising campaign based on the fact with the slogan "spell it either way and it means a delicious hot breakfast, but there is a difference. There's something special about Porage because Scott's Porage is made from genuine Scottish oats, the real stuff".

4. It's the "secret to long life"


One of Scotland's oldest men, former greyhound breeder and racer Neil McNeil, who recently celebrated his 105th birthday, believes the Porage Oats are the secret to his long life.

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Insisting on a daily bowl of the traditional Scottish breakfast cereal, and often requesting a second bowl as a midnight snack, his daughter, Sheila, 72, says he is almost fanatical in his love for the brand, she said: "I have never known anyone to be such a big fan of porridge – he swears by having a bowl every morning to stay in good health and I’m sure he would have it for every meal if he could."

5. They began making porridge 120 years ago

Two brothers, A & R Scott, began the company in 1880 when they started making Scott's Midlothian Oat Flour in the Kingston Dock area of Glasgow.

Even the brand know little of their founders though with their earliest records attributing the running of the business to partners Robert Lauder, who looked after the technical aspects, and William Allen, who controlled the finances.

6. They are really good for you


Since 1984, scientists at Harvard University’s School of Public Health have been following the dietary habits of around 100,000 people and have now come to the conclusion that those of us who regularly eat whole grains, such as porridge oats, can expect to live longer and healthier lives.

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Just one small bowl of porridge a day can increase life expectancy by 5 per cent, and reduce the risk of death by heart disease by 9 per cent.

7. They are owned by Pepsico

Scott's Porage Oats were so successful that they forced their biggest rivals, Quaker porridge oats (who are owned by Pepsico) to buy them over in 1982.

8. They aren't afraid to be flash with their advertising


In 1971, the company drew a lot of attention for their use of a Tartan 1934 Rolls Royce (pictured here in George Square in Glasgow) to promote the brand across Scotland.

9. A former Scotland rugby player was once the Scott's Porage Oats man

After the success of Rory McCann, another famous face became the Porage Oats man.

In 2010 Thom Evans, a Scottish rugby player, took on the role, but only in the porridge's adverts. The man on the box remained the same.

10. Controversial change of model

In 2021 the Scott's Porage Oats man on the box changed, to the dismay of many.

On top of changing the image of the man to a less muscular version, the tartan and text changed from “original” to “old-fashioned”.

The reason for the change was to give the traditional image a 'modern twist and to stand out on shelf.'

While the new look didn't go down well with buyers, Scott's stood by their decision saying: “While the design has evolved over the years, we have always stayed true to the Scottish spirit of the brand.

“We’ve had some great feedback on our latest design inspired by recent images of Scottish shot-putters in the Highland games.”

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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