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A new chapter in the history of the Scotch Pie was written today (Wednesday, February 10th) as a healthier version of the famous pie relished by football fans throughout the country, was unveiled at Hampden Park.

Scottish football journalist and food critic, Tam Cowan, launched the pie which retains the flavour and character of the traditional mutton-based Scotch Pie but is 20% lower in saturated fat and salt than industry average.

An estimated three million Scotch pies are consumed by Scottish football fans each season and during a sampling at the national stadium, Tam gave his seal of approval to the new Scotch Pie, developed by Quality Meat Scotland.

The recipe has been created in a project to investigate the potential to lower the salt and saturated fat content of eight traditional Scots favourites – including black pudding, sausages and bacon - while retaining the flavour that makes the products so popular.

The £40,000 project, match-funded by Scottish Enterprise, saw Quality Meat Scotland working with seven different meat producers and the Food Innovation team at Abertay University who rose to the challenge of developing the healthier formulations.

Dietitian Jennifer Robertson, Health and Education Co-ordinator with Quality Meat Scotland, said a major challenge of the project was the need to retain the flavour which the Scottish favourites are famed for.

“A key objective from the outset of this project was the creation of a range of product formulations which would meet the nutrition specifications required by the public sector supplying venues such as schools and hospitals,” said Mrs Robertson.

“Getting the formulations right has taken considerable time but it has also been incredibly rewarding and the Scotch pie in particular has been a great success.”

Pies made using the new formulation are currently only available from award-winning Kippen-based butcher, TR Skinner, who assisted with the project and QMS is confident there will be strong interest in the reformulated pie, and other products, going forward.

Mr Skinner, whose grand-father set up the family business 42 years ago, said that along with the technical expertise provided by QMS he had drawn on pie-making skills passed down the generations to create a product which is delicious and lower in salt and fat.

“The resulting pie has been such a success that we have now switched our range completely to the new recipe pie and our customers – who expect the best from us – tell us they love them!” he said.

The Scotch Pie is the best-selling hot food item at Hampden and football stadiums throughout the country.

According to Frank Rooney of Sodexho Catering at Hampden the number of pies served depends on a range of factors and is affected by the weather, the time of kick-off and, not surprisingly, how nerve-wracking and close the match is!

“We have 18 kiosks selling pies at Hampden and during busy match days we are in constant communication by radio to ensure we do everything we can to avoid running out and disappointing supporters.

“The pie is king among supporters and Bovril is still the favourite drink to accompany it,” said Mr Rooney.

Notes to editors:

Quality Meat Scotland is the organisation behind the promotion and development of the Scottish red meat industry. QMS employs a full-time, qualified dietitian and supports a range of initiatives to communicate the benefits of eating red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Quality Meat Scotland are holding a Public Sector Seminar on 25th February to inform buyers and suppliers in the Public Sector of the revised products and the specifications to request.

The Target Nutrition Specifications for Manufactured products produced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is a guide to assist local authorities procure lower fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar products. The aim is for the products in the project to meet these standards.

The maximum amounts recommended for Scotch Pies are:
Total Fat per 100g:   15g
Total Saturated Fat per 100g:   5g
Total Salt per 100g:     1g
The newly developed Scotch Pie by TR Skinner has achieved:
Total Fat per 100g:    8.6g
Total Saturated Fat per 100g:  3.8g
Total Salt per 100g:   0.88g

Hampden Park will host the Scotland v Czech Republic
Tennent’s International Challenge Match, Wednesday 3rd March 2010, kick- off at 8pm . Further information available from www.hampdenpark.co.uk