lSir, It is well noted in 'Focus on: Pies & Meat Snacks' (The Grocer, 27 November, p41) that "smaller innovative premium brands" have been leading the charge in a category that has 14.9% growth in sales in branded products.

The category is one that has been devalued over a number of years by squeezed margins in own label. It is an interesting phenomenon that smaller manufacturers such as Higgidy have been able to seize this opportunity and reverse the trend with niche brands and higher price points appealing to a more 'foodie' consumer. Significant credit must go to retailers who have been ready to take a risk on small independent UK companies allowing them to break through in a sector traditionally dominated by the larger players.

Ultimately, we would like to think their vision is being rewarded not just by strong sales and new loyal customers but also because the bar has been raised and a challenge laid down for their own-label suppliers.

Mark Campbell, marketing director, Higgidy Pies