SCOTTISH shortbread firm Walkers has responded after a social media post criticising the firm for Union flag branding on its product went viral.

Jim Walker, joint managing director of the Moray-based family firm, said it used novelty designs on products sold abroad as gift items.

He added that although he and the company were "proud to be Scottish", they were "not ashamed" to use the Union flag.

Walker said that he was disappointed with the backlash, because he had spent his "whole life promoting Scotland".

It came after outrage was sparked on social media over a picture showing the Union flag branded shortbread tins being sold in Germany.

READ MORE: Yes voter's angry post about Union Jacks on Walkers shortbread goes viral

The post received almost 1000 shares on Facebook within a day, having originally been posted on Twitter by @davybrookes.

However, Walker said the suggestion of boycotting Scottish products would put jobs at risk.

He said: "We have to make products that are suitable for different markets, occasions and events. We have made products for America with the Statue of Liberty on it, products for Australia and Middle East, and the Union Jack tin has caused all the angst.

"We make special products for special markets so I don't need to be ashamed to make something for a market and especially for the Olympics, when it was a British team.

"By making what people want we have been able to develop the business and more than 600 are employed because of the success of our exports business.

"I think the reason why we have had some success is because we are prepared to make what the customer is looking for and to meet the needs of the market and in doing so it is creating jobs.

"When someone is saying, don't buy Scottish products, isn't it just killing Scottish jobs."

Many of the Scots who had complained, including on Walkers own Facebook page, said the use of the Union flag was harming Scotland's brand.

Walkers has argued that it uses Scottish branding on many products, including Tartan designs alongside the Union flags in the photograph shared online.

Walker added: "We are absolutely proud of Scotland. We are very very patriotic and Scottish through and through.

"We are an international company. Most of our sales are made outside Scotland.

"And we are a family company. We are born and bred in Scotland and we have had a family business here in Aberlour for 120 years, started with my grandfather, and now my kids are in it and my brother's kids are in it.

"We have an incredibly dedicated, loyal workforce. With many of our staff, their grandfathers have worked for my grandfather. There are whole families working in this company and we are absolutely committed to Scotland.

"I am not aware of any company that has made more of an effort to try to 'say Scotland' in their products than we have.

"I am as passionate about selling Scotland as I am about selling shortbread. It is disappointing. It's sad to see the attitude when you spent your life promoting Scotland."