SCOTS confectionary firm Mackie's has defended packaging chocolate with Union Jacks instead of Saltires after coming under fire in a new Scotland the Brand row.

Scottish independence supporters have bombarded social media with a fierce judgment on the Aberdeenshire-based firm as images emerged of products of chocolate bars featuring the Mackie's of Scotland brand but adorned with the Union Jack.

Mackie's say that the Union Jack features in its products sold for export at the insistence of retailers to highlight it is a UK import.

It said it was "immensely proud" of its roots which is why 'Of Scotland' is in its name.

The new debate over how Scottish products are marketed abroad was sparked by social media messaging which has attracted hundreds of comments with some talking of boycotting Mackie's.

One circular on Facebook shows an image of a Mackie's dark chocolate 'with Scottish mint' bar and the message:" What the hell is this about. Mackie's of Scotland. So where's the Saltire?"

Norma Reid said:"Well I for one will no longer be buying Mackies products. Their loss."

John Mcgurk added: "If its got a Union Jack, put it back. The Saltire is the best of Scotland and if we all use this approach then these Union Jacks will come off our Scottish produce."

And Jilly Emmerson said: "Why on earth would you say 'made in Scotland' then stick a jack on it?

"May as well say made in the UK or stick the flag of Outer Mongolia on it... won’t be buying them again."

But Tam Falconer defended Mackie's saying: "Not everyone in Scotland is anti -British... Why shouldn't a Scottish company put a Union Jack on their products. The Union Jack is ours the same as the Saltire."

Mackie's said that the chocolate was limited edition used only for export.

Karin Hayhow, marketing director with Mackie's of Scotland, said the Union Jack flag was added upon the request of our overseas retailer customers.

"They suggested this was colourful, eye-catching and made the bars instantly recognisable in their market place as an imported product to the USA," she said.

“Our wider range of chocolate bars remain in our original design in our home markets. We’d certainly never try to disguise our Scottish heritage – it’s something that we’re proud of and one of the unique factors is that we make our chocolate on a Scottish family farm. All our packaging both at home and abroad includes our full brand name ‘Mackie’s of Scotland’.”

READ MORE: Row over 'Union-Jacking' of Scottish food and landmarks at Royal Highland Show

Two years ago a row erupted over Scottish shortbread from one of the country's biggest exporters being sold abroad with a Union Flag branding.

This is painful because Mackie's products are good. So it's sad to see this. 😕

Posted by Scottish Independence News on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Moray-based Walkers, the producer of oatcakes, cakes and biscuits, which sells products in over 60 countries, began receiving complaints after some discovered it had switched from a Saltire to a the UK flag in some exports of shortbread abroad.

The shortbread comes in a Union Flag tin with a splash of tartan on the Walkers' label. The shortbread has also been shaped into a Union Flag.

The issue was raised in the House of Commons where Andrea Leadsom, then leader of the House of Commons led the backing of Walker's after Moray's Conservative MP Douglas Ross attacked the "unacceptable and despicable abuse" the 120-year-old Scots firm received for using the British flag in some exports of shortbread abroad.

But she tempered her backing by saying the shortbread should only be eaten with "some modesty".

Four years ago protesters descended on Scotland's most famous confectionary firm, Tunnock's following reports that the biscuit maker had added the Union Flag to branding for its exported products.

Other products that some have taken offence having a British branding include haggis, whisky and even the famous painting the Monarch of the Glen.

Marks and Spencer has presented Scottish Shortbread in what looks like a London bus tin with a Union Flag lid.

READ MORE: Watch -  How Walkers Union Flag branding row led to Commons warning over eating too much

In October, 2017, a #KeepScotlandtheBrand campaign was started to protest against the increasing number of Union flags that have replaced the Saltire on Scottish produce.

Mackie's, based in Rothienorman, was founded in 1912 as a dairy farm but diversified into the manufacture of ice cream after selling the milk retail business to Robert Wiseman during 1997.

In 2009 a partnership was formed with a Tayside potato farmer to produce crisps, marketed under the name of Mackie's at Taypack.

The manufacture of chocolate was added in 2014.