The World’s Finest Shortbread
In the first year of business, Joseph used every spare moment to perfect his shortbread recipe, and it was time well spent. Soon, shooting parties from the local estates were making detours to Joseph's bakery.
As his fame spread, and demand increased for his quality shortbread, Joseph took the first steps to expanding the business by moving to a larger shop in the Speyside village of Aberlour and investing in a horse and cart to deliver his baking further afield.
By the 1970s, Joseph's grandchildren had begun exporting Walkers shortbread to over 60 countries around the world - still baking to his original recipe. Within a decade, they won the first of three Queen's Awards for Export Achievement - the highest accolade given to British exporters.
By 1936, they had introduced three valuable additions to the business: a range of cakes,
a selection of confectionery - and the company's first delivery van.
Now Walkers produce could be sold even further afield, and the prospects for expansion were looking promising. But then came the war.
Wartime rationing and their commitment to the Home Guard meant that Joseph's sons couldn't develop the business or their range of products as they would have liked.
But they kept the business going and kept their customers happy throughout the war years by supplying good, tasty
bread and oatcakes.
Demand grew, and so did the business. By 1961, all three of James' children - Joseph, James and Marjorie - had joined the business, making the third generation of Walkers working for the family firm.
The workforce was now almost one hundred, and Walkers had a fleet of 14 vans as well as shops in Grantown and Elgin.
Local grocers began stocking Walkers products, and the family had to invest in bakery machinery to help them meet demand.
Naturally, they baked to the same high standards - simply on a larger scale. Soon their shortbread was on the shelves of Britain's finest stores.
Many of the people who worked with Walkers during this time, are still with them now. Local folk who often come from the same family - mothers working alongside daughters, fathers and sons.
Then, as now, Walkers stayed in touch with their customers by testing every new product in Aberlour's village shop. So, customers around the world are enjoying a range of products that were first given the seal of approval by the villagers of Aberlour.
Consistent quality and traditionally delicious recipes have made Walkers the choice of the most discerning customers and retailers.
All Walkers' products are packaged in its unmistakable red tartan and proudly bearing the image of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald, the image which captures one of the most romantic moments from Scotland’s history, and reflects all the tradition and care that goes into baking every piece of Walkers shortbread.
The quality and natural goodness of Walkers has attracted many international awards, including five gold Mondiale medals and the Food from Britain Innovation Award.
It was an equally prestigious honour when Walkers were asked to produce Duchy Originals Biscuits for the company established by HRH the Prince of Wales. Duchy Originals
Biscuits are made from organic oatmeal sourced from the Prince’s estates and others within the Duchy of Cornwall.
Today, more than twelve varieties of Duchy Originals are exported around the world from Walkers Speyside bakery.
So, when the family opened a new factory at Elgin to produce their popular new range of shortbread cookies and biscuits, they naturally still insisted on using only the finest ingredients: plump fruits, aromatic spices, chunks of real chocolate and flavoursome nuts. And there's not an artificial flavouring, colouring or preservative in
sight. Just as Joseph Walker guaranteed all those years ago.
Today, Joseph would be proud to know that his great grandchildren are carrying on the family tradition and are now the fourth generation of Walkers to make 'The world's classic pure butter shortbread'.
Walkers Shortbread is located in the small Scottish Highland village of Aberlour-on-Spey that has been home to the Walkers family since 1898. The sun glints on the river Spey as it tosses its way through the Grampian mountains in the north east of Scotland, giving home to celebrated salmon and soft flavors to unrivalled whiskies. As it flows further south, the river reaches an area where wide pastures set off its shimmering surface and offer a peace to the little village of Aberlour. Tucked out of sight behind a copse of fir trees stands the Walkers bakery. The water and perfect climate of the area are the secrets behind the classic taste of Walkers Scottish Shortbread.
The bakery is lifeblood to hundreds of people, drawing its workers, like one big family, from villages for miles around. Walkers Shortbread is the primary employer for Aberlour-on-Spey’s 700 residents. Indeed, there are multiple generations of families working here. Many employees stay with Walkers all their working lives, creating an unusually loyal and motivated workforce. The mutual dependence of the company and the village means that, if the company does well, the village does well. Walkers provides free transport to work in Aberlour, which has economic and environmental benefits. Walkers feels a strong social responsibility to the folk of their locale and supports the village with many charity and social-minded initiatives. Everyone has an interest in the success of Walkers – and that interest is reflected in the quality of its products.
The Walker policy is to grow the company by promoting from within. Opportunities are offered to existing employees with the necessary expertise. The result is a progressive management and loyal dedicated workforce. Walkers is proud that many senior managers have been with the company for all their working lives.