A Load of Puff? – Mince Pies “Uncovered”

This month’s blog looks at one of the most popular festive foods – the mince pie.

Shops in Gloucestershire have their shelves filled with these, but how can you make sure Father Christmas doesn’t end up re-visiting you after Christmas, grumpily asking what happened to the amount of filling in the pies you left out for him?

The answer can be found by checking the label!

The law requires that most pre-packed foods which are made up of more than one ingredient have to declare the quantity of a particular ingredient when it:

  • appears in the name of the food (or is usually associated with that food),
  • is emphasised in words, pictures or graphics, or
  • is essential to characterise the food

The amount of mincemeat in mince pies therefore needs to be declared. This should appear as a percentage (%) and it usually appears in the ingredients list. It can also appear either in (or next to) the name of the food.

So if you like your mince pies well filled, you can find out exactly how much you will be getting by checking the label. We found that the amount of mincemeat in pies can vary from between 53% for ‘premium brand’ pies to just 30% in ‘economy brand’ pies!

This information is called a Quantitative Ingredient Declaration or ‘QUID’. It is there so that consumers can easily compare similar foods against each other and so help them make a decision about whether or not to buy.

Do you know how much meat is in your sausages? how much chicken is actually in your chicken-tikka masala meal? or how much fish is in your fisherman’s pie? The QUID declaration on the packaging should give the answer.

The next time you are out shopping, perhaps check the QUID declarations on some of the foods you buy, you might be quite surprised!

Contact us if you find something unexpected when looking at QUID declarations on food labels, let us know if you have any concerns.

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2 Responses

  1. love mince pies, just finished one where the label said 54%pastry 45% filling. high in sugar, medium salt and quite tasty. Just wondered if whether the high sugar ones sell the best?

    • Unfortunately, our only contact is with a ‘virtual’ shop and so our friends at visionfoodhall.com were not able to come up with any sales figures to answer this question!

      You can normally check the actual sugar content of many pre-packed products from the nutritional information provided on the product label. ‘Sugar is often listed as part of the ‘carbohydrates’ section of the table (other sections being: ‘energy’, ‘protein’ and ‘fats’). By checking the ‘per 100g’ of product figure you can easily compare a number of products and decide which one you would prefer. Your only concern then is serving size….always a problem with mince pies!

      Sugary treats are not always a ‘no-no’, in many circumstances they can still be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Why not try out our on-line computer game in the virtual food hall and take out the ‘are you balanced challenge’ to see how your diet compares? (http://www.visionfoodhall.com/)

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