Scotland gets a lot of flack for its diet. "Those Scots love their deep-fried Mars bars! And they can't get enough of haggis," we all laugh, completely disregarding the fact that the supposedly chip shop- and cow stomach-obsessed country is also home to bounteous natural produce and a dining scene that goes way beyond novelty tartan menus.
But it seems one of those Scottish food stereotypes may hold true—at least in Westminster. New figures have revealed that following the swathe of Scottish MPs who came to power in the last General Election, sales of Irn-Bru—the lurid orange beverage considered "Scotland's other national drink"—have soared in Parliament.
In the 2015 Election, the Scottish National Party upped its parliamentary seats from six to 56, making it the third biggest group in the House of Commons. New data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that since then, bars, vending machines, and cafes across Parliament have sold 8,708 cans or bottles of Irn-Bru.
That's a 60 percent rise from the year before.
Commenting on the figures, Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady said that Irn-Bru gave Scottish politicians the "sustenance" they needed to get through the long days in the Commons. He added: "Famously, Scotland is the only country where Coca-Cola is not the biggest selling soft drink. But it looks like we're making progress in the House of Commons and perhaps the taste will catch on among MPs and staff from south of the border."
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Many have attempted to describe that taste. Flavoured with the Sunset Yellow E number and 10.3 grams of sugar per 100 militres, Irn-Bru has an … interesting flavour profile. Wine critic Jilly Goolden once likened it to "bubblegum, wet sheep fleece, barley sugar, and plastic,"
The Scottish MPs and other parliamentary staff are expected to drink another 8,493 cans or bottles of Irn-Bru before the end of the financial year in April 2017. Let's hope they remember to stock up before the proposed sugar tax comes into play.