Pasty concept Phat Pasty has seen sales surge thanks in part to a big increase in the number of universities selling its products and using its branded counters and point-of-sale material.

Around 25-30 universities already sell hot savouries and snacks under the Phat Pasty brand, with another six to be added in the next few months, including Reading, Aston and the University of Western England. Paul and Laura Clark, who started the Milton Keynes-based company in 2006, said like-for-like sales had grown by 22% in the past year.

The couple first started selling pasties from converted vehicles, designed to look like camper vans, but the company has since developed into a branded concept for foodservice and retail operators. Customers can be supplied with everything from branded takeaway packaging and menus through heated display units to a complete Phat Pasty-branded coffee shop concept, which help drive sales of the company’s food range, including Cornish pasties, which are handmade in Cornwall, pies, sandwiches and porridge. Products are produced under licence by third-party producers to the company’s own recipes and are distributed by Bidvest (formerly 3663).

“A lot of universities are looking for hot grab-and-go options rather than formal sit-down meals,” said Paul Clark. “We add value and provide a professional quality concept for them.”

He added that university catering had changed significantly in recent years with fewer non-branded refectory style restaurants and an influx of well-known operators such as Starbucks and Costa. “They have lifted people’s expectations and have become the benchmark,” he said. “We offer universities the right credentials to compete with those high street brands.”

The Phat Pasty brand can be found in 250-400 locations around the country, including independent retailers, hospitals, coffee shops, cafés and in workplace canteens. Pasties retail for between £2.95 and £3.50. The company will unveil a major new brand image in September at the Lunch! trade show.