Supermarket chain Asda is courting controversy after it emerged it had spoken to its suppliers to advise against displays of overt British patriotism – concerned that it could turn off shoppers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The retailer has contacted several big name brands, including Kleenex and Coca Cola, which have recently adopted Union flags on their packaging to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics, to advise against the practice.
In an email it wrote that display of the flag: “is a big issue because this packaging will potentially land in both Northern Ireland and Scotland stores.”
They went on to demand that 20 suppliers issue standard packaging for display in stores across Scotland and Northern Ireland alongside a list of all products which would carry the national flag
The request was met by disbelief from some suppliers with one telling the Daily Mail: “We are aware there are issues of sensitivity in Northern Ireland but this email clearly states that they want standard packaging to be sent to Scotland too.
“It also says there will be no British event within the seasonal aisle in Scotland where they normally sell summer goods. Does that mean they don’t believe the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics are British events?”
Asda later claimed that the note had been “badly worded”.