Northern Foods has written to Defra threatening it with High Court action for supporting an application to the EU to protect the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie name. The bid for protected geographical indication was made by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association to preserve the pie’s regional character. It would prevent many manufacturers from using the name. If granted, it would be the first PGI to be given to a recipe-based product in the UK.
Northern Foods claims the move would threaten smaller manufacturers and advance the interests of Samworth Brothers, which sells 55% of Melton Mowbray Pork Pies in the UK. The company makes 99% of pies made by MMPPA members, most under own label, although it also makes Dickinson & Morris. Northern Foods, which has a 25% market share, makes a mix of own label and branded, the latter mainly Pork Farm Bowyers. Its factories lie outside the area included in the application.
Northern Foods’ action follows a Judicial Review in 2004 that prompted Defra to re-examine its support for the PGI request.