Healthy pie to tempt football fans

Scotch meat bosses are hoping to create a revolution on the football terraces up and down the country with the launch of a new healthy eating pie.

Quality Meat Scotland has created a new healthier version of the famous Scotch Pie, which it hopes will take the football world by storm. Launched at Hampden Park this week, by Scottish football journalist and food critic Tam Cowan, the pie is said to retain the flavour and character of the traditional mutton-based Scotch Pie, but is 20% lower in saturated fat and salt than the industry average.

An estimated three million Scotch pies are consumed by Scottish football fans each season and, during a sampling at the national stadium, Tam gave his seal of approval to the new Scotch Pie.

The recipe has been created in a project to investigate the potential to lower the salt and saturated fat content of eight traditional Scots favourites – including black pudding, sausages and bacon – while retaining the flavour that makes the products so popular.

The £40,000 project, match-funded by Scottish Enterprise, saw Quality Meat Scotland working with seven different meat producers and the Food Innovation team at Abertay University, who rose to the challenge of developing the healthier formulations.

Dietitian Jennifer Robertson, health and education co-ordinator with Quality Meat Scotland, said a major challenge of the project was the need to retain the flavour which the Scottish favourites are famed for.

“A key objective from the outset of this project was the creation of a range of product formulations, which would meet the nutrition specifications required by the public sector supplying venues such as schools and hospitals,” she said. “Getting the formulations right has taken considerable time, but it has also been incredibly rewarding and the Scotch pie, in particular, has been a great success.”

Pies made using the new formulation are currently only available from award-winning Kippen-based butcher TR Skinner, who assisted with the project, and QMS is confident there will be strong interest in the reformulated pie, and other products, going forward.

Mr Skinner, whose grandfather set up the family business 42 years ago, said that, along with the technical expertise provided by QMS, he had drawn on pie-making skills passed down the generations to create a product which is delicious and lower in salt and fat.

“The resulting pie has been such a success that we have now switched our range completely to the new recipe pie and our customers – who expect the best from us – tell us they love them!” he said.

The Scotch pie is the best-selling hot food item at Hampden and football stadiums throughout the country.

According to Frank Rooney of Sodexho Catering at Hampden the number of pies served depends on a range of factors and is affected by the weather, the time of kick-off and, not surprisingly, how nerve-wracking and close the match is!

“We have 18 kiosks selling pies at Hampden and, during busy match days, we are in constant communication by radio to ensure we do everything we can to avoid running out and disappointing supporters.

“The pie is king among supporters and Bovril is still the favourite drink to accompany it,” said Rooney.

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