Market research outfit Mintel has revealed an interesting side-effect to the global economic recession: pie sales are up as cash-strapped Brits look to cheap, "hearty" fare to fill their grumbling bellies.
Indeed, sales of pies rose five per cent last year, reaching an impressive £941m. Mintel senior analyst Vivianne Ihekweazu explained: "Consumers returned to the familiar as the economic downturn put a dent in their disposable income, forcing them to reconsider their spending priorities.
"While pies were often previously seen as being old fashioned, they have benefited from being repositioned as a popular gastropub meal staple – moving them a step beyond the sausage roll in the eyes of the consumer as a versatile snack or viable main meal.”
The Telegraph says that Marks & Spencer offloaded a whopping 16.2 million pies in 2009, meaning someone somewhere scoffed 44,383 times a day. "Its best seller is a steak pie," the paper notes.
Mintel predicts further joy for pie and pasty manufacturers over the next five years, with the market growing by 17 per cent, and hitting £1.12bn by 2017.
Sadly, Marks & Spencer's online tentacle doesn't offer steak pies, but we can reveal that £1.12bn would buy you 184,615,384 of its Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, which at 10 generous servings a pop, would feed a family of four for 4,215 years*. ®
*Based on three meals a day, one portion per person per meal, excluding unauthorised pie scoffing between meals.