Tesco’s new vegan haggis ‘would make Robert Burns scoff’, says leader of Scottish butchers
- Tesco has released a vegan version of haggis just in time for Burns Night
- Douglas Scott said Robert Burns would expect ‘power’ from the traditional food
- It is thought to be the first time Tesco has offered vegan-friendly haggis
- Tesco Scottish food buyer, James Lamont, defended the product and said vegan haggis is a delicious meal
British supermarket giant Tesco has received criticism from the leader of Scottish butchers as the retail giant is set to stock vegan haggis, just in time for Burns Night.
Douglas Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders said Robert Burns would ‘scoff’ at a vegan-friendly haggis, which is available on supermarket shelves in Tesco and other UK supermarkets.
Mr Scott said Burns would have expected to get ‘power and strength’ from eating the dish but that the MacSween’s vegetarian haggis, made only from nuts and vegetables and therefore suitable for vegans – did not give that ‘impression’.
Burns Night falls on Friday 25 January and it is thought to be the first time Tesco has offered a vegan-friendly haggis to customers.
The Macsween vegetarian haggis (pictured above) which is set to go on sale in Tesco stores
Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Co-op are also selling the haggis, which costs around £2.80.
The traditional dish packs a punch, mixing up sheep offal, oats and other ingredients in a case made from intestines.
But the MacSween veggie haggis includes black kidney beans, carrots, swede, mushrooms, red split lentils, rehydrated onions, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, salt, ground spices and vegetable margarine.
An unimpressed Mr Scott said: ‘Robert Burns enjoyed haggis so much that he stood up and completed an address to it.
Douglas Scott (pictured above), chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders, has slammed the meat free version of traditional Scottish dish, haggis
‘If you listen to this, he gives the impression that it’s going to give you power and strength.
‘That is not the impression you get from the vegan haggis and, I think he would be scoffing at it.’
He added: ‘It was the first time Burns actually tried the haggis in Edinburgh and enjoyed it so much he made an address to it.
‘It was inspired by a meat based haggis and it is a meat- based haggis that is supposed to be celebrated at this time of year.’
Mr Scott claims as his evidence the following lines from ‘Address to a Haggis’: ‘But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, the trembling earth resounds his tread’.
Tesco Scottish food buyer, James Lamont, defended the product, which the retailer stocks all year round in some branches across Scotland.
He said: ‘Veggie haggis is a delicious meal in its own right not too dissimilar to a nut roast and we think vegetarians and vegans are buying them as centrepieces for roast dinners.’
‘The current clamour for vegan and vegetarian food has really helped send sales soaring for the non-meat version of the haggis.’
Burns Night is an annual event in Scotland where Scots around the world celebrate thelife of poet Robert Burns
Asda have announced that they will be selling haggis across all UK stores in time for Burns Night.
The supermarket will be using Scottish butcher Simon Howie to stock their shelves with traditional and vegetarian haggis, that is fully vegan-certified.
The Perthshire-based butcher’s contract is valued at £291,000.
WHO WAS ROBERT BURNS AND WHY IS HE CONTROVERSIAL?
Robert Burns was born 25 January 1759 and died 21 July 1796 and was widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.
He was a high-ranking member of the Freemasons and much of his popularity stems from the fact he was a farmer’s son who could speak to the common man.
But he also led a varied social life which exposed him to different sections of society.
In his poems, he often used small subjects to express big ideas and he is often thought of as a pioneer of the Romantic movement.
For instance, in ‘To a Mouse’, he draws a comparison between the lives of mice and men.
He was a source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism after his death.
Burns has a national day named after him on the 25th January each year.
At New Year, his poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is still sung to this day.
For 200 years his birthday has been celebrated with suppers in his honour.
The poet Liz Lochhead outed Robert Burns as a sex pest, highlighting a 1788 letter written to Bob Ainslie in which Burns implies he raped his pregnant girlfriend Jean Armour.
He bragged of giving his lover a ‘thundering scalade [a military attack breaching defences] that electrified the very marrow of her bones’, and said he ‘f****d her until she rejoiced’.
Lochhead described his letter as a ‘disgraceful sexual boast’.
‘[It] seemed very like a rape of his heavily pregnant girlfriend. It’s very, very Weinsteinian’, she said.
‘Not only did Burns make Weinsteinian claims in his correspondence, his poetry abounds with physical violence against women’, writes Daniel Cook, senior lecturer in English at the University of Dundee in The Conversation.
‘Not published until after his death, Merry Muses of Caledonia is stuffed with the bawdiest songs you’re ever likely to read’, he writes.
However, Dr Cook says these works can help us to reconsider human concerns.
‘After Weinstein, the time is right to reevaluate how we respond to literary traditions’, he writes.
‘Rather than using literature (or private correspondence) to out so-called sex pests, though, we can use it as a vehicle for understanding the long history of sex pesting.’