Pie makers in the Melton Mowbray area – a region traditionally associated with this kind of pie in the East Midlands – raised the issue in an attempt to protect their recipe and create an exclusive zone in which the pork pie can be made.
The area encompasses the cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton, but does not include the counties of Shropshire and Wiltshire where Northern Foods produces its Melton Mowbray pies.
Northern Foods now has agreed on a five year period to switch the manufacturing to the East Midlands. The company will have to change the recipe and processing techniques over the next five years.
The battle between the company and Defra even touched the EU’s geographical indications (GI) system, as the pies might be the first UK product to be protected by GI status.
The market is worth an estimated annual €77.1 million and claimed to be the fastest growing section of the pork pie market. Northern Foods has a 24% market share.
Genuine Melton Mowbray pork pies are grey in colour and made from uncured pork. The pies should be baked free standing, giving it a unique shape.