Don’t despair if England’s football team falters in the World Cup. Its steak and ale pie is likely to prove an easy winner in the Pie World Cup, which pits 32 ‘national’ pies produced by the Square Pie company against each other.
Square Pie’s last Pie World Cup saw the England entry — steak and kidney — romp home ahead of its rivals, which included runner-up France’s beef bourguignon, measured by sales. This time, Square Pie has assessed the steak and ale pie assigned to England as the four-to-one favourite, followed by the chorizo sausage pie of Spain at seven-to-one and Brazil’s feijoada at 12-to-one.
The London-based Square Pie will sell the 32 national pies at its five London shops on the days on which the corresponding teams play their World Cup matches.
At the end of the contest, the football Pie World Cup winner will be the pie which has sold in the greatest numbers throughout the tournament.
Square Pie will still sell its usual pies on match days and says that it will simplify the logistics of producing 32 new and often exotic pies for such a short period by limiting the number of each pie it makes. The stress of the last Pie World Cup saw the exit of one working baker, says the company, which was formed in November 2001.
Square Pie says that it makes its pies – and other products such as mashed potato – daily without artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives. Meanwhile, a recent online survey of more than 2,500 fans of the Barclays Premiership football league, found that UK football fans ate an estimated 225 million pies in and outside England’s football grounds last season. Fans ate an average 17.5 pies per season and had bought from the same outlet for an average 3.3 years, said Barclays.
It also found that 20% of fans bought their half-time pie as “part of a superstitious ritual”. The most popular pies were those sold at Wigan Athletic, followed by those at Newcastle United and then Manchester United.
Steak pies were the most popular pies, garnering 29% of fans’ votes, followed by meat and potato (24%), chicken and mushroom (15%), cheese and onion (4%) and vegetable (3%).
The Pie World Cup results can be followed on Square Pie’s website at www.squarepie.com