TO celebrate National Pie week the favourite pies of people in different parts of the UK have been revealed.

For the UK’s 2021 National Pie Week (1st-7th March), the team at Eat Great Meat delved into the pies that the UK is most interested in online. They compiled data on people searching for pie types, takeaways and recipes to reveal the most popular pies across the UK over the past year.

The Scotch pie is the UK’s favourite, receiving 385,497 searches or 16.9% of total searches for pie across the UK over the past 12 months. Originating in Scotland, this pie traditionally contains mutton but commonly contains beef, particularly when sold across England.

Typically, the Scotch pie is sold at football games with a cup of Bovril - and is a firm fan favourite.

With the launch of the first vegan scotch pie last year and the annual World Championship Scotch Pie Awards set to continue in 2021, this classic pie should continue to rise in popularity.

Vegan pie, a relative newcomer to pie fillings, has ranked second, with 196,521 searches or 8.6% of total searches for pie. This is followed by vegetarian cottage pie, which ranks third with 194,502 searches or 8.5% of the total.

The most popular pies in the UK are:

  1. Scotch Pie - 385,497 yearly searches
  2. Vegan Pie - 196,521 yearly searches
  3. Vegetarian Cottage Pie - 194,502 yearly searches
  4. Cornish Pasty - 192,240 yearly searches
  5. Banoffee Pie - 140,818 yearly searches
  6. Mince Pie - 137,771 yearly searches
  7. Apple Pie - 137,248 yearly searches
  8. Vegan Cottage Pie - 99,362 yearly searches
  9. Game Pie - 97,765 yearly searches
  10. Steak Pie - 96,498 yearly searches

Noel Bramall, Spokesperson for Eat Great Meat, says: “These results are really interesting. The Scotch pie has seen a massive increase in demand since last year, when the cottage pie was named the UK’s favourite. I believe this is down to lockdown takeaway trends - this year’s favourite travels very well.

“The Scotch pie is a small pie encased in a hard double crust. This pastry ensures the filling is contained and doesn’t spill, which lends itself to take-out popularity - much like a Cornish pasty. Scotch pies can be eaten out and about by hand, or easily delivered and knocked about a bit, unlike a cottage pie or softer pastry variety that might not arrive in one piece. It’s the original fast food - a perfect lockdown pie.

“It’s also great to see vegetarian and vegan pie popularity increasing. Pies are an adaptable food - if you can think of a filling, it will probably taste great in a pie. So, interesting vegetarian and vegan varieties are very welcomed, and I’m glad to see that a larger portion of the UK can access and try a classic national dish.”

How does favourite pie choice vary by country?

The research found people in England favour Scotch pie, with it taking up 14.3% of total pie searches. It was also favoured in Wales, with 12.1% of searches, and in Scotland, with 49.1%. Northern Ireland has a sweeter tooth, with a majority of 14.9% preferring banoffee pie, while the Isle of Man’s favourite is vegetarian cottage pie (24%).

What is the nation’s favourite side dish for pie?

The top choice of side dish is almost as hotly debated as pie fillings themselves. The Eat Great Meat team have analysed the number of searches for pie sides across the UK, to settle the mash versus chips, and the Bovril versus gravy debate once and for all.

Jellied eel, a traditional pie side served in London (because eels were the only fish able to survive the polluted 18th-early 20th Century Thames water), has been omitted from the results, due to (unsurprisingly) no demand.

Overall, the winner across the majority of the UK is pie and mash. Mash is the most popular side served with pie in England, with 77% of people choosing this dish, while only 5% chose pie and chips as their favourite. Interestingly, 9% preferred pie, mash and liquor.

In Wales, a whopping 83% of people online chose mash as their favourite side for pie. In Northern Ireland, mash made up 73% of searches.

Scotland is the only country with the majority choosing another side as the favourite, with a huge 97% of people instead preferring ‘Pie and Bovril’. Only 2% searched for pie and mash in Scotland.

What are the top pie fillings?

To see if there were any particular meats or fillings that the UK population preferred, the team behind the study grouped the pie types by main ingredients. For this comparison, they focused on savoury pies.

The most popular pie fillings in the UK are:

  1. Beef - 827,428 yearly searches
  2. Lamb - 441,901 yearly searches
  3. Vegan - 295,883 yearly searches
  4. Vegetarian - 294,852 yearly searches
  5. Game - 97,765 yearly searches
  6. Pork - 97,195 yearly searches
  7. Potato - 93,572 yearly searches
  8. Steak - 83,920 yearly searches
  9. Onion - 74,188 yearly searches
  10. Leek - 70,639 yearly searches

When grouping these pie varieties by filling, the results are interesting. The majority of searches contained beef, with 827,428 searches and 49% of all savoury pie searches involving this filling.

Lamb takes second place, with 441,901 yearly searches, followed by vegan pie fillings, accounting for 295,883 searches. Vegetarian pie fillings are a close fourth, with 294,852 people searching for this pie variety in particular.

Game appeared at fifth spot with 97,765 searches, followed by pork, potato, steak, leek and onion fillings. The typical game pie can contain venison, pheasant, pigeon and rabbit, and can be a slightly rich taste for some, depending on the variety of meat used.

This intrepidness didn’t extend to the last spot - baked pilchards (mackerel), a key ingredient in stargazy pie. The Cornwall classic features mackerel heads baked into the pie, so that they look upwards, stargazing.

Do UK residents prefer vegetarian/vegan based pies, or meat based pies?

Overall, meat fillings are the most popular, with 65% of people searching for their carnivorous favourite - whether that is steak and ale or a shepherd’s pie.

However, vegetarian and vegan pies made up a surprising 35% of total searches, supported by a huge following in the UK for vegan pie in particular.