People from Wigan are known the world over as Pie-eaters – and now fans of the town’s favourite food can enjoy a pie-flavoured sweet.
National confectionary expert Andy Baxendale, who has a sweet factory in the town, has launched the pie-flavoured sweets following a string of requests from local people desperate to find another way to get their daily fix of the northern "delicacy".
Andy is known throughout the industry as The Sweet Consultant and his career has seen him work for many of the biggest names in UK confectionery production, advising companies on everything from recipes to staff training and enhanced production techniques.
The new soft sweet range, made at his factory on Winstanley Road, Billinge, uses meat and potato flavourings to recreate the experience of eating a pie.
Andy has 23 years’ experience in the confectionery industry and is a former product development manager for Chewits with a Master’s of Science in Advanced Food Manufacture
He also worked in a pie factory for two years early in his career and has a reputation for creating unusual confectionery, including bacon fudge and cheese flavoured popcorn.
He said: "Everyone associates Wigan with pies and so it seemed like a logical thing to do to create a sweet version of this great Northern delicacy.
"The term Pie-eaters is believed to date from the 1926 General Strike, when Wigan miners were starved back to work and so were forced to metaphorically eat humble pie – but it just so happens that in Wigan we love eating pies as well."
Andy is calling on the government to set up a national academy of sweets to protect the industry and teach a new generation the art.
The 51-year-old, a former product development manager for Chewits who now works as a consultant for firms across the UK, fears that without support those skills will disappear forever.
Andy is a respected national consultant in every aspect of confectionery production, with extensive knowledge of regulation and legislation in the industry.
He is one of the TV team of on-screen confectioners that entertained and informed BBC2 viewers in The Sweet Makers, a series that was a summer hit.