The value of retail sales of Scottish food and drinks brands across Britain rose to almost £2 billion in the year to May 2014, led by the popularity of Scotch whisky, new analysis has shown.

Famous Grouse, Bell's Whisky, Whyte & Mackay and Grant's Whisky were the top four Scottish food and drinks brands during the period.

The whisky brands, along with other famous names such as Baxters, Tunnock's and Irn-Bru, helped boost the value of retail sales by over 36% since 2007.

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Between May 2013 and May 2014, the estimated value of retail sales of Scottish food and drink products was up 3.3%, according to the Scottish Government analysis of grocery purchases across Scotland, England and Wales.

Scotland's food minister Richard Lochhead said: "Business is booming for Scottish food and drink, not just here in Scotland but across these islands and around the world.

"Our global reputation for top-quality food and drink with unrivalled provenance is driving up sales of iconic Scottish brands and products at home and further afield - as demonstrated by the strong and increasing demand for Scottish food and drink brands in England and Wales.

"This continued growth in these markets - especially in the past year as we get closer to the referendum - shows that consumers across these islands purchase our produce on the basis of taste and quality above all else."

The analysis comes as new figures show that almost a fifth (19%) of Scotch whisky exports go to Commonwealth countries.

Last year, exports to the Commonwealth were up 1% on 2012 to £793 million, from a global total of £4.3 billion, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Singapore is the largest market in the Commonwealth for Scotch whisky with exports of £330 million last year, followed by South Africa with exports of £163 million, Australia at £84 million and India with £69 million.

Economic growth and increasing disposable incomes mean new markets are also emerging in parts of Africa, the SWA said.

Exports to Nigeria rose 43% to almost £14 million last year, making it the seventh biggest market in the Commonwealth.

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "In many Commonwealth countries, Scotch whisky has been popular for years.

"As economies in other countries develop, young, professional consumers are developing a taste for Scotch whisky which they rightly regard as an aspirational drink of quality."