Fall in mince pie sales prompts Tesco to introduce chocolate and hazelnut version of Christmas treat

  • Mince pie sales fall by 1.5 per cent - and Christmas puddings are down too
  • New flavours include rhubarb and stem ginger and gold salted caramel
  • Snack was introduced in the Middle Ages by crusaders arriving from Europe

By Dan Bloom

|


It has been part of Christmas for 800 years - but it seems the humble mince pie's popularity is crumbling.

Sales of the mincemeat treat have fallen by 1.5 per cent, prompting Tesco to launch five bizarre new flavours in a bid to turn shoppers back to pastry.

Fillings now competing with traditional mincemeat include chocolate and hazelnut, golden salted caramel and rhubarb and stem ginger.

Unorthodox: Tesco has launched five unusual flavours of mince pie - including rhubarb and stem ginger

Unorthodox: Tesco has launched five unusual flavours of mince pie - including rhubarb and stem ginger

The supermarket chain predicts that it will sell two million of the 'alternative' pies - but still shift a healthy 30 million of their more traditional cousins.

Market research by the supermarket giant claims people aged 20 to 40 are avoiding mince pies because they do not like the traditional fruit filling.

 

Spokesman Mike Baess said: 'We hold customer tasting panels and generally younger people were more in favour of different types of fillings.

She's a fan: But falling numbers of people are buying pies at Christmas

She's a fan: But falling numbers of people are buying pies at Christmas

'We also found that there has been a slight decline in people buying fruited puddings and fruit cake - including Christmas pudding.'

The other new flavours revealed by Tesco include red wine mulled fruit with a butter crumb topping, and the more traditional apple and cinnamon.

The less adventurous can plump for an apple and cinnamon flavour - similar to pies already on the market

The less adventurous can plump for an apple and cinnamon flavour - similar to pies already on the market

HISTORY OF THE MINCE PIE

  • Mince pies with cream
    Introduced in 1200s after crusaders brought spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg from the Middle East
  • Once filled with meat like pigeon, hare, pheasant, rabbit, tongues and livers
  • So popular that Henry V was served a mince pie at his coronation in 1413
  • Diarist Samuel Pepys wrote in 1666 of staying up until 4am to see pies be made
  • Oliver Cromwell reportedly banned the pies - but this is often held to be a myth
  • Pies became sweeter in 1700s with importing of sugar from slave plantations, and mincemeat - dried fruit, spirits and spices - gradually replaced real meat
  • Traditional recipe has 13 ingredients, signifying Christ and his 12 apostles

It comes after mince pie sales fell 1.5 per cent between the Christmas periods in 2011 and 2012 across the industry, according to the retail analysts Nielsen.

Tesco picked the new flavours by holding focus groups with younger customers, who they fear are drifting away from mincemeat, and asking them what flavours they wanted to see on the shelves.

Tesco bakery spokeswoman Kim Hesketh, who took part in the workshops, said: 'Food tastes change over time and as we’re seeing right now the mince pie is no exception to the rule and is evolving.

'Demand for fruited puddings and fruit cake in general is declining. In the last few years we’ve seen sales of sponge puddings grow over the festive season as an alternative to the traditional Christmas pud.

'What we’re hoping to do by bringing in these alternative flavours is cater for this change in taste and offer alternatives so that shoppers have a choice. We want the mince pie and its new alternatives to continue to be loved by generations to come.'

The new alternative Christmas pies cost between £1.65 and £2.75 per pack, but they are not the first to try and make a crust from the 'alternative pie' market.

The chocolate gift firm Hotel Chocolat sells 'pies' made entirely of chocolate - including fillings of praline and salted caramel placed in a milk chocolate 'cup'.

The comments below have not been moderated.

ALDI mince pies are better that's why.

1
4
Click to rate

how do no if its horse mince

1
1
Click to rate

There isn't enough filling in Tescos mince pie.

1
6
Click to rate

Tesco - I'll let you into a secret - people are not buying your pies because they are expensive and don't taste good, and it's easier and better to make them at home.

1
11
Click to rate

Will they still leave the traditional suet out of the recipe?

0
3
Click to rate

its NOVEMBER not DECEMBER stop shoving christmas stuff at us please. if shops and advertisers left it to december everyone would be happier treats are not treats if they are on sale all the time we do not need reminding of the date we all know it and why oh why do they think that we have do a big shop for it you are only shut for two days not a month

0
10
Click to rate

who buys these in november?

1
13
Click to rate

No problem, Just deep fry the unsold ones in batter and ship them off to scotland!

4
14
Click to rate

The ones that I have bought have a sell by date of 4th December. That is no good for Christmas is it?

0
19
Click to rate

So they put last years on the shelf to sell first!

1
3
Click to rate

I will assume Tesco's mince pies are more expensive and not as good as other store ones, hence the fall? Besides, they should be on sale in December, not this early.

2
26
Click to rate

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now