Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Big Post About Heinz Big Pies

If you’ve kept your eyes on the pies, you might have noticed a new competitor enter the pie supermarket-place. Manufactured under the Heinz brand, these ‘Big Pies’ from Peters Pies are aiming to take a slice of the £1 price-point pie. But are these pies late on entering an already crowded marketplace?

I popped down to the local ASDA to get my hands on three of these pies. Priced at £1, that certainly sounds like great value for something that so readily promises to be “Big on Flavour”. These three pies are “Steak and Vegetable”, “Chicken and Leek”, and “Steak and Onion”.

Heinz big pie

Heinz big pie

Heinz big pie

We note that the Heinz “Big” brand (including soups, frozen meals and canned meals) is aimed primarily at the male market, thus these Big Pies will be a competitor to the male-orientated Hungry Joes pies we reviewed previously. Furthermore, Wales-based Peters Pies already produce a number of other similar pies already reviewed on Pierate. But clearly Heinz and Peters believe there is still a gap in the market to exploit – and let’s face it, who doesn’t want more pie?!

*Note that four different flavours of Heinz Big Pasties were also launched alongside these pies, but we have a strong (some say irrational) dislike for pasties on Pierate!*

So how to they rate on the Seven Cs?

First up is the Heinz Big Steak and Vegetable Pie

Heinz big pie

Out of the oven, this pie looks pretty standard. I’ve seen many a pie look exactly like this. Golden brown puff pastry lid, with paler, slightly-too-soft sides. There’s an attempt with crimping, but nothing particularly exciting. There’s no boil-out which is good, and also no cracks, so the condition of this pie is okay. Overall, the appearance of this pie is satisfactory but nothing very special.

Notably, though, this pie is not as big as one might expect for a Big pie. It is actually surprisingly small, and I pray that it is stuffed full of content otherwise I might be left still a bit hungry.

Heinz big pie

Hmm, no, it’s not really stuffed full of content. I’d say that’s about half-full, which in our books is a poor air:filling ratio. I am quite disappointed with that. Furthermore, the filling seems to be quite lacking in the “vegetable” promised by the name. There was a bit more vegetable than the solitary pea seen the photograph – but only a little bit more. The chunks of steak and wholesome vegetables certainly weren’t rolling out of the filling like the photograph would suggest.

The filling did taste quite nice – quite soupy. The steak was okay – not too chewy, and for the £1 price tag I was reasonably impressed. But what this pie really lacked was quantity of filling. I worry that Heinz/Peter’s have gone down this “Big” branding route, implying that these pies are for satisfying big appetites, but consumers will ultimately be left disappointed by the lack of “Big”ness.

Heinz Big Steak and Vegetable Pie
Score: 4.4/7

Heinz Big Chicken and Leek Pie

Heinz big pie

Like the steak and vegetable pie, this is a very classic look for a cheap supermarket pie – light golden brown puff pastry with pale sides.

Heinz big pie

Oh my, look at that enormous air gap at the top of this pie. That’s got to be less than 1/2 filling, right? More like 1/3? This is rather disappointing, especially given the photograph on the packet.

imageimage

I wonder why on earth the pastry looks so different in my pie to the photograph. There seems to be a secondary layer of the puff pastry that has slipped down like a veil over the filling (which is remarkably not rolling attractively out of the pie as in the picture). Don’t you think the pastry on the box looks more like shortcrust that puff pastry?! Interesting.

Nevertheless, we soldier on. The filling is actually very pleasant. There is a nice taste of the leek, and the chicken chunks seem genuine and tasty. I like the filling – more so than the steak and vegetable, actually. The pastry, however, is pretty terrible in my opinion – it looks bad and tastes bland.

Heinz Big Chicken and Leek Pie
Score: 4.6/7

Heinz Big Steak and Onion Pie

Heinz big pie

We’re nearing the end of our romp through this Heinz/Peters pie selection, as now we come on to our final pie – the Steak and Onion. It looks very much like the previous two pies. Nothing huge to complain about – very plain. I’m having my pie with some peas, because you have to eat your greens when you’re eating so many pies! (Although SJL did do some science recently to show that eating a pie for every meal for a week can mean you lose weight!)

Heinz big pie

Again, this pie is rather underfilled, although not quite so badly as the other two – plus this pie doesn’t have the odd ‘pastry-veil’ hanging down like the chicken pie. I didn’t like the filling in this pie quite as much, though, and the steak seemed a little chewy to me. Again, I thought the pastry was bland and added little to the party, and the big chunks of potato seemed to be there just to take the place of steak rather than bringing anything to the table themselves. This isn’t really a pie I’d be desperate to put in my fridge/oven/mouth again, although it was by no means terrible. If I had some small change in my pocket and wanted a pie, and this was all that was available, then I’d go for it. Otherwise, I believe the other two Big pie options would be preferable.

Heinz Big Steak and Onion Pie
Score: 4.3/7

So overall, I felt these pies were cheap (great!) but underfilled and lacking in big appetite-bustingness, and with the exception of the chicken and leek they were a rather uninspiring entry into an already busy supermarket pie market.

Those scores again:

Heinz Big Steak and Vegetable Pie
Score: 4.4/7

Heinz Big Chicken and Leek Pie
Score: 4.6/7

Heinz Big Steak and Onion Pie
Score: 4.3/7
TJP


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