WHEN visitors to Scotland think about splashing some cash on a culinary delicacy, they might be tempted to try luxury smoked salmon or freshly-caught oysters.
But a grocery store in Edinburgh is cashing in on American tourists’ taste for home by selling packets of imported crisps – for nearly £10.
Kingdom of Sweets, on Princes Street in the capital, is flogging packets of Cheeto’s Flaming Hot Crunch for an eye-watering £9.99.
The ultra-spicy cheesy snacks are hard to find in the UK but widely available in the US, where they have garnered a cult-like reputation among their fans.
There is even a feature film in the pipeline telling the story of how Hot Cheetos were first invented by a janitor called Richard Montañez, while he was working at a Frito-Lay factory in California.
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They are not the only American import being sold at a substantial mark-up, however. Customers craving a fix of Harr’s Jalapeno Flavoured Cheese Curls can pick up a packet for £6.99 each.
And to wash it all down, cans of Monster Energy drinks are on sale for £3.99 – nearly a 75 per cent mark up on the cost in supermarkets.
In a Co-Op shop a three-minute walk away, the same high-caffeine drink sells for £1.15, or a quid if on offer.
Some traditional British products also had big price tags, however.
An unremarkable Kit-Kat bar was priced at £1.99, more than twice what it is sold for in the same Co-Op shop, where the chocolate bar is sold for 75p.
A Flake bar in Kingdom Sweets also costs £1.99, as does a Wispa bar – both of which sell for 75p in the Co-Op.
And a 40g packet of Doritos sold for £1.99, compared to a 55g bag selling for 95p in the Co-Op.
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The store has been accused of ripping off tourists due to its prominent location in a “tartan and shortbread” tourist trap in the middle of Edinburgh festival season.
Kingdom of Sweets insists it is offering consumers “hard-to-find” items.
Angus Duncan, 25, who lives in the city centre, said he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he wandered in to browse.
The railway worker said: “I don’t tend to go in the shop but I thought I’d go in and see what they’ve got.
“It’s gobsmacking to see something selling for nearly ten times the price you would expect to pay.
“I know British Cheeto’s are different but they are usually about a pound. It is unbelievable, it is bare-faced cheek.
“I think it is preying on people who don’t understand currency, people think the pound is tanking and it’s in a worse state than it actually is. Rather than think they are being ripped off, they may think they have misunderstood.”
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Angus said the most shocking part was the high prices of common British sweets, which he said were ‘hidden’ among imported products.
Angus added: “It is the middle of the Fringe, the city is carnage. Every inch is packed with people.
“We want people to come to Edinburgh and to enjoy it, but tourists are being treated with contempt for a quick buck.”
A spokesman for Kingdom of Sweets said: “Clearly our customers understand our concept as our Edinburgh Princes Street store has been incredibly busy since opening.
“What our customers love about our stores is the ‘emporium experience’, where discovering different treats and flavours from across the world, seeing branding in different languages, or just the whole sugar rush, is what makes the experience special.
“At Kingdom of Sweets, we take huge pride in offering confectionery from across the globe.
“In Edinburgh we are proud to stock weird, wonderful and exciting sweets including limited edition treats, retro goodies and unique flavours.
“While some of the brands we stock appear mainstream, they are actually hard to find items with flavours, variations or quantities that cannot be found elsewhere – this is what makes up the whole sweet shop experience.”