A new study on the most well-known geographical indication products has ranked Harris Tweed in the top 10 of British products, with the Outer Hebridean tweed being the only product in the ranking from outwith the food and drink sector.

The only other Scottish products in the top 10 were Scotch Whisky and Scotch Beef.

Harris Tweed was also rated as the product with the best customer perception with 45.1% surveyed ranking the product as ‘best in class’.  

Customers surveyed also rated Harris Tweed as the second highest when it came to awareness of the brand’s protected status.  

The study, conducted by London based agency Brand Dialogue also noted that the impact of the brand’s social media presence sharing stories about the people and stories behind the production of the cloth.

The report by Brand Dialgue states: “The Instagram page for the Harris Tweed Authority is particularly compelling as it uses content to not only highlight the brand but also the people behind the product”

HTA Chief Executive, Lorna Macaulay attended a two day event in London  during which the report was launched and the subject of Geographic branding and GI products were discussed and debated, particularly post Brexit. 

Geographical Indication is a designation awarded to certain products that have specific geographic origin and possess qualities or a reputation due to that origin, for example the Cornish Pasty must be prepared in Cornwall in order for it to be marketed and sold as a Cornish Pasty, similarly Prosciutto di Parma can only be made in the hills of Parma in Italy.  

The provenance and quality of GI products is inextricably linked to its place of production and Harris Tweed was awarded this designation in 1993 on the passing of the Harris Tweed Act of Parliament.  Nearly three in four British consumers say that they are more likely to purchase products with a geographical indication.  

Norman L MacDonald, Chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority said: ‘In today’s disposable culture, discerning consumers are increasingly seeking out products of quality, provenance and place. Harris Tweed is by definition, exactly that and we are extremely proud of the research findings.  Building our industry sustainably and retaining some 350 jobs in our rural island economy is the key focus for all in our industry’ 

Photographs of Kenny Maclennan, Breasclete, and Anna Macleod, South Lochs