A pie shortage is a shortage too far | Blaise Tapp

I’ve been around long enough to have endured my fair share of crises, meaning that the events of recent weeks haven’t fazed me too much.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 8:49 pm
Pies at Buckwells of Southsea in Osborne Road, Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (250220-8757)

I kept my head during the worst days of the fuel shortages and only bought as much petrol as I needed – it wasn’t very much – and have absolutely refused to even think about what toys to order for Christmas until I’ve disposed of a pair of mouldy pumpkins and am sick of the sight of toffee apples.

I wasn’t really bothered about the supposed worldwide shortage of everything until I read reports of a pie crisis.

That’s when I really sat up and took notice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

For somebody who has previously been described as half-man, half-meat-and-potato-shortcrust, the idea that the humble pie might not be readily available left me in a cold sweat – reminiscent of the time I overdid the hot sausage rolls – three of them to be precise – one lunchtime.

A world without pies is a grim prospect and is how I imagine Sir Paul McCartney would feel if the music suddenly stopped.

We’re told that we are faced with this potential shortage of filled pastry products due to concerns there won’t be enough foil tins, because the cost of aluminium is soaring, not to mention the global labour crisis.

Things have become so tight that the British Pie Association has called on manufacturers to recycle foil tins.

It’s a perfect storm which might well lead to me being forced to have sausages rather than a steak and kidney with my two veg.

If things get really bad, I might well have to make my own but that really is too much like hard work.

Although I am half decent in the kitchen, I have had little joy with making my own pastry in the past and certainly won’t be troubling the folk at The Great British Bake Off.

Whether or not there will actually be a shortage of pies leaving the production line remains to be seen but it has made for a catchy headline, which is guaranteed to have been read by anybody who genuinely cares about what goes on their dinner plate.

Of course, there is now a risk that quality pies will be harder to come by due to the news reports about the potential shortage, although I would find it very unlikely if people queued up for hours outside their local bakeries as they did recently for fuel.

As is often the case, journalists have received stick for reporting the latest chapter of the shortage saga with the cry ‘if they didn’t report the scare stories, then we wouldn’t run out of stuff’ commonplace in the comment sections of news websites and on social media.

Blaming journalists for idiots buying more of anything than they need is as unfair as it is lazy because I have yet to read anything which has actively encouraged the recent craze of panic buying.

Good journalists report the facts and if those facts include fears from experts that there might be a problem with a particular supply chain then that is fair game.

It is worth noting that it has also been reported that pie makers everywhere are confident there will continue to be enough to go round for everybody, giving some balance to the story.

We now know all about the international shortage of haulage drivers and the fact that those who are looking for jobs now seem to have the upper hand, meaning that entire industries and sectors are facing a shortage of bodies.

Although every shop I have visited recently has had plenty on their shelves, a warning that we might not be able to get everything we want at the click of our fingers might not be a bad thing, although leave some pies for me please.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.