Wigan indignation at 'pie capital' rankings snub

The host of Wigan’s World Pie-Eating Championships has voiced shock and incredulity that the town only just creeps into the UK top 10 of pie-loving locations.
Tony Callaghan (left) with former World Pie-Eating champ Martin Appleton-ClareTony Callaghan (left) with former World Pie-Eating champ Martin Appleton-Clare
Tony Callaghan (left) with former World Pie-Eating champ Martin Appleton-Clare

Food service The Billington Group has drawn up a table (not a pie chart) ranking cities according to the number of pie-related searches on Google.

And the stunning news is that the league is won by Bristol, followed by Plymouth, Bromley and Cardiff - none of which has traditionally been considered a pastry stronghold.

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Manchester (ie Greater Manchester) comes only 10th after the likes of Newcastle, Derby and Sheffield.

Pub chain boss and pie-eating championships organiser Tony Callaghan called foul on the whole system.

He said: “I'm stunned. This can't be right. The table is very misleading. Everyone knows that Wigan is the capital of the pie world and home to the World Pie-Eating Championships. It goes down in history as such. Even now the pie shops are open and they’ve been trading throughout the pandemic. Wiganers can’t get enough of them.

“The trouble with the table is that it is looking at city regions so we are being lumped in with places like Tameside and Oldham who clearly aren’t eating enough pies and are letting the side down!”

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Wiganers have long held onto the "pie-eaters" nickname, which some say comes from striking local miners "eating humble pie" after going back to work during the general strike of 1926.

The coveted global trophyThe coveted global trophy
The coveted global trophy

Most Wiganers will tell you a simpler story though - they just love pies.

The World Pie-Eating Championships have been held in the town centre for many years now and it attracts competitors from many miles around. The town is also home to the "Wigan kebab" which is variously defined as a pie in a buttered barm cake or three pies on a stick!

And this coming British Pie Week (March 2 to 8) many thousands of the products are expected to be consumed in the borough.

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Will Dickinson, Head of Development at Billington Foodservice, said: "We celebrate pies all year round here at The Billington Group, but especially during British Pie Week! It's really interesting for us to see how the nation embraces pies and hats off to Bristol for clinching the top spot!

The table was based on pie-related Google searchesThe table was based on pie-related Google searches
The table was based on pie-related Google searches

“We hope everyone tucks into a pie or two this week, and that soon we’ll be able to see them back on pub menus around the country, once their doors reopen!

"Whether a savoury pie, served with mash and peas floats your (gravy) boat; or you prefer to tuck into a sweet treat covered in custard - there’s a pie for any and every occasion - especially during British Pie Week!"

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