Thomas Tunnock Limited, commonly known as Tunnock's, is a family-owned bakery based in Uddingston, Scotland. It is headed by Boyd Tunnock, grandson of Thomas.[1] In 2013 a joint report by Family Business United and Close Brothers Asset Management named it as the 20th oldest family firm in Scotland still in operation.[2]

Thomas Tunnock Limited
TypePrivate limited company
IndustryFood and drink (bakery)
FoundedDecember 1890; 130 years ago (1890-12) in Uddingston, Scotland
FounderThomas Tunnock
HeadquartersUddingston, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
ProductsCakes, biscuits
OwnerTunnock family
Number of employees

As of 2019, Tunnock’s has been the sponsor of the Scottish Challenge Cup in Scottish football.[3]


The company was formed by Thomas Tunnock (b. 1865) as Tunnock's in 1890, when he purchased a baker's shop in Lorne Place, Uddingston.[4] The company expanded in the 1950s, and it was at this time that the core products were introduced to the lines, when sugar and fat rationing meant that products with longer shelf-lives than cakes had to be produced.[5]

The Tunnock's boy, featured on almost every product
Gifts and art works inspired by Tunnock's distinctive design

Since 2005, Tunnock's has sponsored The Tour of Mull, an annual car rally held on the Isle of Mull.[6]

In September 2010, Tunnock's workers in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, conducted two 24-hour strikes during contract negotiations. At main issue were salaries, with management having originally offered an increase of 1%, followed by a second offer of 2%.[7] The dispute was resolved in October 2010 with agreement on a 2.5% increase backdated to the start of July 2010, followed by a 2.5% increase in July 2011.[8]

In an April 2012 interview with The Herald, Boyd Tunnock described himself as a Unionist on the question of Scottish independence.[9][10]

In the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow, the teacakes took centre stage as dancers dressed as teacakes danced around the main performers near the start of the show. Sales of Tunnock's tea cakes were 62% higher at Waitrose the day after the ceremony.[11]

In November 2015, Tunnock's made a donation of £250,000 to an appeal for an independent lifeboat station at St Abbs.[12]

In January 2016 Tunnock's faced a boycott campaign from Scots who supported an independent Scotland, due to mistaken allegations that they had removed the Scottish lion and other Scottish branding from their products. The branding of the packaging remains the same, but advertisements found in London promoted it as a British (rather than exclusively Scottish) product.[13]

In July 2017, Tunnock's announced it would be branding their wafer creams sold in Japan, as "Made in Great Britain" Managing director Boyd Tunnock quoted: "You've got the Great British Bake Off and things like that these days. We could have said Scottish but you're then promoting Scotland. We're British."[14]


Two-and-a-half Tunnock's Teacakes

The Tunnock's Teacake is a sweet food often served with a cup of tea or coffee. It was developed by Sir Boyd Tunnock in 1956.[15][16] The product consists of a small round shortbread biscuit covered with a dome of Italian meringue, a whipped egg white concoction similar to marshmallow,[1] although somewhat lighter in texture. This is then encased in a thin layer of milk or dark chocolate and wrapped in a red and silver foil paper for the more popular milk chocolate variety, with blue, black, and gold wrapping for the dark.

Retired RAF bomber pilot Tony Cunnane told of how Tunnock's Teacakes became a favourite ration snack of the V bomber nuclear deterrent flight crews based at RAF Gaydon, especially after discovering that they expanded at high altitude. This ended after one was left unwrapped and exploded on the instrument panel.[17]

Caramel wafersEdit

A milk chocolate Tunnock's Caramel Wafer
A Caramel Wafer split

The Tunnock's Caramel Wafer, officially the Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Coated Caramel Wafer Biscuit, is a bar consisting of five layers of wafer, separated by four layers of caramel. The bar is coated in chocolate, made from cocoa and milk solids. The wafers are wrapped in red and gold coloured foil. Dark chocolate wafers, wrapped blue and gold, are also available.

The University of St Andrews has a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Appreciation Society, founded in 1982.[18]

Other productsEdit

Tunnock's Snowballs and Caramel Logs

The other products in Tunnock's lines are largely based on the core products. The Caramel Log is similar to the Caramel Wafer, but with the addition of roasted coconut to the outside of the bar. Wafer Creams and Florida Orange have chocolate and orange flavoured cream in place of the caramel.

A Snowball is similar to the Tea Cake, with the addition of grated coconut to the exterior of a soft chocolate shell but with no biscuit base.

Despite pressure to do so, Tunnock's does not make any own brand biscuits for supermarkets.[1]

In 2013, Tunnocks's entered into an agreement with Tesco to sell a range of branded items produced by Glasgow-based promotional materials firm Orb. Fergus Loudon, sales manager for Tunnock’s stated: "As well as teacake tea towels, aprons and china mugs, there will be the ideal gift for the many caramel wafer fans – a ‘yard of caramel wafers’." As of 2015, the products continue to be sold both through Tesco and directly from Orb.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c Lea, Robert (14 April 2010). "The Willy Wonka of Tannochside: Tunnock's MD, Boyd Tunnock". The Times Literary Supplement. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  2. ^ Close Brothers Asset Management: John White & Son named Scotland’s longest established family business after almost 300 years of service. 1 October 2013.
  3. ^ Watt, Martin (26 June 2019). "Scottish Challenge Cup: New sponsor a sweet deal". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ Made in Scotland, Carol Foreman, ISBN 978-1-84158-725-7
  5. ^ "Thomas Tunnock Ltd (34 Old Mill Road, Uddingston) | The List". Food.list.co.uk. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Tunnock's Tour of Mull" 2300club.org. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  7. ^ Jones, Sam (28 September 2010). "Tunnock's biscuit workers go on strike". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Tunnock's pay dispute ends as deal accepted". BBC News. BBC News. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Tunnock's view on referendum doesn't taste so sweet for Alex Salmond". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Boyd Tunnock: I'm not afraid to say I'm a Unionist". Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  11. ^ Tunnock's sales take the teacake after Commonwealth Games ceremony, accessdate: 3 December 2016
  12. ^ "Tunnock's donation brings back St Abbs lifeboat". BBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  13. ^ Khomami, Nadia (4 January 2016). "Storm in a teacake: Scottish nationalists call for boycott of Tunnock's". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Tunnock's rebrands as British in bid to win over Japan". The Scotsman. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Tunnock's – A chocolate Scottish institution". Document Scotland. 30 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Tunnocks - About us. The teacake was born". Tunnocks. 30 March 2018.
  17. ^ Yorkshire pilot’s Cold War secret revealed, archived from the original on 6 March 2016, retrieved 9 May 2020
  18. ^ "Sweettooth fans swamp Tunnock's tours". Scotland On Sunday. The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  19. ^ "Tunnock's signs Tesco contract". Johnston Publishing Ltd. The Scotsman. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  20. ^ Wright, Scott (4 September 2013). "Deal sealed to stock Tunnock's merchandise in Tesco stores". Herald & Times Group. HeraldScotland. Retrieved 24 April 2015.

External linksEdit

  Food portal