Savoury pastries are ripe for growth and innovation, according to Ginsters managing director Sam Mitchell, and he believes the Cornish-based business is the one to deliver it.

“The category is much more impulsive than you’d imagine,” he tells British Baker. “Seventy percent of consumers want more innovation and 60% don’t mind paying more.”

Sam - head shot

Source: Ginsters

Sam Mitchell, Ginsters MD

Ginsters is tapping into this with a host of on-trend NPD, including plant-based pasties in flavours including Bombay Potato & Spinach and Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato & Chickpea as well as the recently launched world flavours-inspired bake range. The latter builds on demand for more adventurous flavours, with mac & cheese and Philly cheese steak among the line-up, and broadens the brand’s appeal to “younger, pre-family consumers”.

These consumers, notes Mitchell, are of particular importance to the savoury pastry market as they help to keep it in “healthy” growth and expand the main consumer base from the over 45s who make up the majority of shoppers now. It seems to be working as he quotes IRI figures of 7.6% category growth since 2019 with the core Ginsters products all in “double digit growth” partly due to the category restating its relevance to the lunchtime occasion during the pandemic. Mitchell admits he’d be “very disappointed” if the market couldn’t maintain this level of growth, believing the “breadth of offer and breadth of flavours” will play an important factor in this.

Ginsters international bakes

Source: Ginsters

Owned by Samworth Brothers, Ginsters currently has a 9% market share of the overall category (according to IRI figures) – which includes pies, pasties, Scotch eggs, quiches, sausage rolls and other snacking products – although it dominates in areas such as Cornish pasties.

Mitchell joined the business in December 2020 having spent a couple of years as McVitie’s general manager at Pladis, with experience prior to that at Mondelēz International and Kraft Foods.

“There’s an opportunity there to increase frequency of purchase of other flavours”

“Brands have a responsibility to invest in marketing and bringing it to life. That will lift the category as a whole,” the MD believes, noting Ginsters’ £3m spend for the year. “There’s an opportunity to bring more energy from events and seasonal offers as well.”

However, brands are fighting an uphill battle against own label, which accounts for two thirds of the market, and, as Mitchell points out, the top five flavours (chicken & mushroom, steak & ale, steak, chicken & bacon, and cheese & onion) haven’t changed in a decade.

“There’s an opportunity there to increase frequency of purchase of other flavours,” he says. Ginsters’ tactic is to utilise seasonal NPD from the Smoky Bonfire Chilli Beef & Bean Pasty to the Festive Chicken & Stuffing Slice with a “when they’re gone, they’re gone” mentality.