The world needs better pies! So say Maree Glading and Jessie Stanley, and they have turned their conviction into a business that bakes and distributes gourmet pies of the highest standard in taste and quality.
They brand their products I Love Pies and that says it all really!
"We're foodies. We love cooking for friends and trying out new recipes, and we've both always worked for food companies," says Maree, a marketer by profession with FMCG experience. She and Jessie, a food technologist also formerly with a large FMCG company, were convinced New Zealand had unmet demand for pies that are made with tender meats, other wholesome ingredients and fresh, flaky pastry ... and a little flair.
"Pies are something of an icon in our national diet. They're warm and comforting, and perfect on the go food," says Maree. She and Jessie formed I Love Pies Limited earlier in 2008. At this stage, it has a range of four traditional pies, each given an imaginative new twist: AngusPure beef steak and caramelised red onion; AngusPure mince and mozzarella cheese; smoked fish and creamy béchamel sauce; and manuka smoked bacon and egg with tomato relish.
I Love Pies definitely have an edge on some of their more mass produced competition pies that, in the words of Maree and Jessie, tend to be full of "gristle and gloop". They have found plenty of the same discernment among Kiwis hungry for a wholesome, homebaked pie even if the price is a little higher. (The I Love company has a recommended retail price of $6.50 for its standard pie and $19.99 on the family sized variation).
"People are definitely passionate about pies. We get that in emails all the time," says Maree. "In fact, I haven't seen such passion about a type of food except maybe for chocolate ... and chocolate would come second. People crave pies but when they eat them, they are often a bit disappointed."