Research from Mintel suggests there are some indulgences the British public is not willing to give up, even during an economic downturn, namely pies and pasties. Mintel’s 2010 Life of Pie report showed that over 84% of people had eaten a pie in the previous 12 months, providing strong optimism for future sales and growth.

Pies and savouries could even replicate the successful trend seen in cupcakes in the last 18 months with rising demand for boutique shops specialising in savouries, or a call for extended ranges in more traditional outlets.

Pies have long been considered a staple in British cuisine and one of the ultimate comfort foods, but why the sudden upsurge in thei popularity? According to Mintel’s report, pies are no longer seen only as dinner food, with more and more people enjoying them as a snack.

This increase in on-the-go consumption offers a great opportunity for pies and savouries, in particular mini or small versions. The research suggests this sector has been expanding during 2011 and is expected to reach more than £1bn in sales by 2012.

Furthermore it is expected to reach £1,123m by 2017 (Mintel, Life of Pie, 2010). Bakers and retailers who have not considered different variants of these products should seize this opportunity and increase their rangesto capture this expanding demand.

The consumer is becoming increasingly concerned with provenance, so sourcing ingredients for pies and pasties locally and stating where they came from will meet these expectations and ensure that ingredients are always fresh.

Customers are also concerned with staying healthy, which is sometimes a major factor in the decision-making process as to whether to buy a specific food product or not.

In order for growth to be sustained over the next few years, healthier options of pies and savouries need to be developed in order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers.

In today’s multicultural society, the fact that people travel to new and exciting destinations has created a new trend within pies and savouries the demand for international flavours. Local stores and markets are great places to get inspiration about popular flavours within a community.

However, Mintel’s latest research suggests that when it comes to more traditional products in pies and pastries, the top three varieties remain: beef pie or pasties, at 55%; sausage roll, at 53%; and Cornish pastries at 45%.

Providing a good variety of products in your bakery or outlet traditional offerings combined with some new and exciting flavours is a surefire way to improve your business.

n Max Jenvey is director of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic management agency for foodservice and bakery

Constand demand

n According to data supplied exclusively from foodservice market analysts The NPD Group, in quick service/fast food outlets, pubs, cafés and full-service restaurants, meat and vegetarian pies represent about 1.5 servings per 100 visitors and this has remained relatively consistent over the past three years (y/e June 11). However, there was a slight increase in the percentage of orders that included pies in 2010, suggesting consumers may have opted for familiar, traditional ow-priced offerings during the recession.
n While the total number of visits to restaurants declined by approximately 2% for the year ending June 2010 versus 2009, servings of pies made some gains for the same period. In pubs, pies accounted for three servings per 100 visits.