Wall’s burst on to the scene with on-the-go options, but leader Ginsters held firm and focused on full-size formats

They are not clever, sexy or particularly healthy but savoury pastries are convenient and fill bellies. And sales have edged up 2.7% though volumes fell 0.6%.

Heavy promotions have simultaneously been enticing consumers to the fixture and making it difficult for brands to charge full price. “It is a heavily promoted area,” says Joy McAleese, Asda pre-packed pies buyer. “Consumers demand value for money in this category.”

Cornish pasty specialist Ginsters still dominates the market. Its debut in pork pies, a relaunch of its pies with Union Jack-stamped packaging and a £6.5m spend was rewarded with a healthy 6.1% sales lift.

Andy Valentine, head of brand marketing, says a key factor in Ginsters’ sales strategy this year was to place a stronger focus on its larger, more premium-priced products. “All the focus in-store – in terms of shelf space and promotions – had historically been on lower-priced individual pies, to the detriment of the sector,” says Valentine.

But Pukka Pies showed an impressive 82.8% sales growth following the success of its pitch-side advertising in the English domestic football league. And although promotions had been a big part of the category in 2009, the extent of discounting was now levelling off, claims Nigel White, general manager of brands at Pork Farms.  Sales at the pork pie specialist nosedived 42.5% following the termination of its partnership with Kerry Foods in February 2009, when Kerry extended its Wall’s brand from sausages and into savoury pastries for the first time.

“Kerry wanted to concentrate on its own savoury pastry products,” says White. “It meant our impulse distribution disappeared overnight. But we are now using a variety of distributors and, over the last quarter, we are back in growth.”

The Kerry-owned business has jumped from 30th to third, as a result, with sales soaring to £18.3m.

Wall’s 12-strong Full of Filling range, which included a Scotch egg pie, pork pie and savoury slices, was designed for the burgeoning male on-the-go snacking market and featured traditional butcher’s-style brown paper packaging to underscore Wall’s heritage.

“More than 90% of households purchase pastry products but most don’t buy them regularly because they are often uninspiring, full of air rather than filling and poor value,” says Valerie Kubala, Wall’s pastry senior brand manager. She described the launch as “a huge opportunity for Wall’s to use its meat, quality and value credentials to reinvigorate the pastry sector”.

Top launch: Peter’s premier slices, Peter’s Foods
Peter’s Foods has set its sights on the younger crowd with this range of eat-on-the-go slices. Launched in October, the slices continue its trend for products containing branded ingredients. They come in eight flavours including Spicy Chicken Fajita with Discovery seasoning, Ham & Pilgrims Choice Cheese, and Cheesy Bean & Sausage.

Peter’s says it believes offering new twists on classic recipes can grow the £120m slices market.

Top Products Survey 2009