piesAs a good value and filling meal option, the pies & pasties category has performed well suring the recession with value sales climbing by 5.2% between 2007 and 2009 to reach an estimated £941m in 2009.

Manufacturers have faced rising ingredients costs, and this has been one of the key drivers pushing up value sales. At the same time, consumers are returning to familiar comfort foods. The economic downturn has put a dent in consumers’ disposable income, forcing them to re-evaluate and reconsider their spending priorities.

Pies and pasties have therefore seen new consumers entering the category as they rediscover the value it offers them, especially those on a limited budget.

While consumers are seeking value-for-money food products, looking out for special offers, they are less prepared to compromise on quality. Pies and pasties offer them a quick and easy meal solution that meets their needs for a filling traditional meal.

Nevertheless, an opportunity exists to grow the market by increasing frequency of consumption among the 43% of 34 million consumers of pies and pasties who are eating them once a month or less.

With tightening budgets and relatively less disposable income, as many as 71% of consumers agree that pies and pasties make a cheap and filling meal.

Competition from other convenience foods, such as pizzas, ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, should force more manufacturers of pies and pasties to focus on finding new points of differentiation by promoting the provenance of their ranges, as well as the quality of ingredients they use.

In terms of distribution, pies and pasties are mainly purchased through grocery multiples, especially given the significant presence of own-label ranges in the category. Last year almost 80% of pies were sold through multiple grocers.

Consumers are ‘creatures of habit’ when it comes to buying pies and pasties – only two fifths are adventurous enough to be trying out different flavoured pies and pasties. Over a quarter of consumers have eaten five or more different types of pies and pasties in the last year.

Just over four fifths of consumers have eaten pies and pasties in the last 12 months, with beef pies and sausage rolls being the favourites.

Just over a tenth of consumers have eaten a spicy pasty in the last year, compared to two fifths of consumer who have eaten Cornish pasties or pork pies.

Pies and pies are eaten fairly infrequently, with just over two fifths of consumers eating pies and pasties once a month or less. While 26% of consumers are choosing to snack on pies and pasties at home, 22% choose to snack on them on the go.

Finally, the market for pie and pasty consumption for breakfast remains untapped as only 3% of consumers eat them on this occasion.

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