Australian meat pie

Australian meat pie

An Australian meat pie is a hand-sized meat pie containing largely minced meat and gravy sometimes with onion and often consumed as a takeaway food snack.

It is considered iconic in both Australia and the neighbouring New Zealand. It was described by former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr in 2003 as Australia's "national dish". [ Sausage Roll Policy] ] Similarly, in New Zealand it is regarded as a quintessential national dish and dubbed a part of traditional New Zealand food or "Kwisine Kiwiana", and often described as a Kiwi/New Zealand meat pie.

The popular brand Four'N'Twenty produces 50,000 pies per hour and Australians consume an average of 12 meat pies each per year. [ [ Bye-bye American pie - ] ] . However, the average consumption of meat pies in New Zealand is higher at 15 per person per year [Andre Taber states that in 2004, business transactions for meat pies in New Zealand were worth NZ$120 million. The average cost of a meat pie was about NZ$2 this puts the sale of meat pies in New Zealand to be 60 million. As New Zealand has a population of 4 million this puts the average consumption per head to 15 per year. Andre Taber, "The Great New Zealand Pie Guide: A Tasting Guide To Some of the Best Kiwi Pies Up and Down the Country", Renaissance Publishing, 2006, pg 7-8] . The meat pie is heavily associated with Australian Rules Football as one of the most popular consumed food items whilst watching a game.

Commercial production

Manufacturers of pies in Australia tend to be state based, reflecting the long distances involved with interstate transport and lack of refrigeration capabilities in the early years of pie production. Many pies sold ready-to-eat at smaller outlets are sold unbranded and may be locally produced, produced by a brand-name vendor, or even imported, frozen pies heated prior to serving.

The Australian meat pie manufacturer Four'N'Twenty says that its pie was invented in 1947 by L. T. McClure in a small Bendigo bakery, to become the brand Four'N'Twenty. Due to their relationship with Australian rules football, Four'N Twenty has iconic status in Victoria and high popularity outside the state.

Other manufacturers predate this, and the pie manufacturer Sargent can trace their pie making back to 1906. Sargent meat pies were served at the opening of the Old Parliament House in 1927 — or rather 10,000 pies were not served and the left-over pies had to be buried nearby.

In South Australia, Balfours has been making pies since the early 1900s and remains (with Vili's) one of two major pie manufacturers in the state. Both of these pie makers supply pies to various venues hosting AFL games.

Produced in Western Australia, Mrs Mac's Pies are now sold nationwide, found mostly in service stations and corner stores, competing with other brands in the contested takeaway hotbox market on the basis of quality and fillings other than the normal fare.

In Victoria, some of the well known and famous pie makers are Clarke's Pies from Mortlake, Kings Pies from Hamilton, Gillies from Bendigo, Beaumont's Pies from Geelong and Patties Pies from Bairnsdale.

In Tasmania, the main manufacturer of pies is National PiesFact|date=June 2007, ironically a Tasmanian only company, as they have not yet started interstate sales. National Pies make typical beef mince pies, as well as "Cottage Pies", which are topped with mashed potato. National Pies' mince pies are rectangular in shape, as opposed to most other brands, which are round.

Nutritional value

Former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr launched a Childhood obesity Summit in 2002 where he told participants that feeding children a diet of meat pies, sausage rolls and chiko rolls was akin to child cruelty.

In April 2002, the Australian Consumers Association conducted a study of 22 frozen meat pies available in supermarkets. They found three brands did not meet the minimum 25 per cent meat content requirement set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), they also found that the fat content ranged from 15 to 35 grams of fat per pie. The ACA study was of a select group of frozen meat pies in supermarkets, thus the study does not account for freshly baked meat pies of which the meat content and nutritional value varies from bakery to bakery. Another study by ACA in 2006 found 5 of the 23 pie products tested had less than the minimum 25% meat required.

In 2006, The ACA awarded pie manufacturer Black and Gold "The CHOICE Shonky Award for UnAustralian Content" for their pies found to contain just 17% meat. [ [ The CHOICE Shonky for UnAustralian Content] - CHOICE May 2006 edition]

The meats allowed by FSANZ in a meat pie are beef, buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, hare, pig, poultry, rabbit and sheep. Kangaroo meat, a leaner alternative, is also sometimes used. However, most pie manufacturers specify 'beef' in their ingredients list; typically, those using other types of meat will simply put 'meat' in the list instead. FSANZ's definition of meat includes snouts, ears, tongue roots, tendons and blood vessels. Only offal (such as brain, heart, kidney, liver, tongue, tripe) must be specified on the label. Wild animals ("slaughtered ... in the wild state") may not be used. [ [ Body parts and gravy?] - CHOICE May 2006]

The Great Aussie Meat Pie Contest

Started in 1990 and held annually since [ [ History of the Great Aussie Meat Pie Contest] ] , the Great Aussie Pie Contest was created to find the best everyday commercially produced meat pie produced in Australia, to promote the higher quality pie production as well as attempting to increase media attention upon the foodstuff, the iconic meat pie often dwarfed by the omnipresent advertising of fast food chains.

The contest attracts various pie makers Australia wide [ [ Bakery's pie success] - The Ararat Advertiser, "2 Oct 2007"] [ [ The pies have it!] - The Sunshine Coast Daily, "30 Sept 2007"] , the pies for the contest are judged anonymously to avoid bias towards or against specific bakeries or states. Run in parallel to the main contest is one for gourmet pies, with categories for such fillings as chicken, seafood and even vegetarian pies. As well as the main prize, certificates of excellence are awarded for entries that reach set quality standards. The main award is highly coveted due to the greatly increased sales it generates, with many people travelling interstate to sample the winning pie.

Other cultural references

In the 1970s meat pies were mentioned in an advertising jingle for General Motors Holden Australia. The jingle — "Football, meat pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars, they go together underneath the Southern Stars" — was an adaptation of an American jingle for the General Motors Chevrolet brand. Holden is owned by General Motors.

Fair-Go Dibbler, citizen of Fourecks in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, is famous for selling "meat" pies to his unsuspecting customers. Those paying a substantial premium may get one containing a "named" meat.

In 2007, Domino's Australia and Domino's New Zealand both released a meat pie pizza, consisting of minced beef, peas, diced fresh tomato, onions, gravy, thick pastry and tomato sauce. [ [,23599,21510044-2,00.html Pie technology breakthrough] - "5 April 2007"]

ee also

* Pie floater
* Meat pie
* Chiko Roll


External links

* [ The Great Aussie Meat Pie Contest]
* [ Pie Article from Australian Flavour]
* [ Choice Magazine - Meat Pies]
* [ Meat Pie history & trivia]
* [ Pie Raters website]

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