The product will be stocked by Morrisons from 12 April, followed by multiple retailers including Iceland from May. With a recommended retail price of £2.75 per 400g twin pack, the pies will also be available to wholesale and convenience retailers.
The new recipe sees diced leeks and potatoes in a creamy cheddar sauce encased in Pukka’s signature shortcrust pastry. The pies, approved by the Vegetarian Society, heat straight from the freezer in four minutes.
“With a retail sales value of £3.3m, our chilled Veggie Cheese, Leek & Potato pie is the bestselling vegetarian SKU [stock keeping unit] in the category and scooped a Grocer New Product Award in the year it launched,” said Rachel Cranston, head of marketing and innovation at Pukka.
“People are falling back in love with their freezers and growth in the frozen food category is up 17% (IRI). It was the natural next step to offer shoppers the same tasty recipe in frozen that they can heat and eat straight from the freezer in as little as four minutes.”
The meat-free category is increasingly important to Leicestershire-based Pukka, according to Cranston.
“Demand for meat-free options is rife, and since launching our award-winning veggie pie recipe, we expanded our plant-based offering further with a duo of vegan pies,” she said. “Over one million shoppers have bought the products since September, demonstrating strong demand for meat-free pie options amongst vegetarians, flexitarians and meat-reducers alike.”
Quick and easy
Cranston also emphasised the importance of the convenience aspect of the NPD. “With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease, this launch couldn’t come at a better time,” she said.
“Many shoppers will want to get out and about and prioritise substantial meal options which are quick, convenient and don’t compromise on taste,” she said.
“Already a familiar recipe to shoppers, retailers can feel confident that by stocking our Veggie Cheese, Leek & Potato Microwaveable Twin Pack, they can benefit from incremental frozen sales.”
Recent additions to Pukka’s chilled individual portfolio within the hot pie category include Chicken & Bacon and a limited-edition Sausage, Leek & Cider recipe.