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Originally created as an on-the-go snack for 18th-century coach passengers and now elevated to the status of a “substantial meal” by Conservative ministers, the humble scotch egg has never been so popular – or meant so much to so many.
So much so that sales are soaring. Across England, scotch egg makers are ratcheting up production lines after seeing demand from pubs and the food-service sector rise massively over the past week.
Supermarkets have also experienced a substantial spike in sales, with the Co-op reporting a 26% year-on-year increase in the number of scotch eggs purchased at its stores – and an 11% rise in sales over the past week alone.
“For us, it’s been great – the phones have been ringing non-stop,” said Brendan Baury of Bolton-based gourmet scotch egg maker Happy Belly.
Sales began to surge on Monday, when food minister George Eustice said that a scotch egg – typically a boiled egg encased in cooked sausage meat and fried breadcrumbs – did count as a “substantial meal”. Then Michael Gove, who had initially contradicted his cabinet colleague and dismissed the scotch egg as “probably” just a starter, backtracked on Tuesday and declared, once and for all, that a scotch egg “definitely” is a substantial meal.
Hospitality businesses in tier 2 areas welcomed the news: under the government’s new Covid-19 restrictions, which are enforced by local authorities, a “substantial meal” must accompany all alcoholic drinks that they serve – meaning many pubs and bars without kitchens would have struggled to reopen after the national lockdown ended in England on Tuesday.
Now, publicans are hoping they need only supply customers yearning for a freshly drawn pint with a cold scotch egg alongside their tipple of choice, to stay on the right side of a quintessentially British law.
Happy Belly normally produces about 10,000 scotch eggs a week, said Baury. This week he has made 15,000 following a huge increase in enquiries from new customers, particularly kitchenless pubs.
“In the region of 150 pubs, restaurants and food-service companies have got in touch with us about supplying them since Monday,” he said. His production line will now be running for 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week, to meet demand. “We’re expecting orders to be even higher next week. It’s brilliant for the staff, because we haven’t had to furlough anybody, and everybody’s working extra hours so they’ve got some good cash coming in before Christmas.”
Images and repeated discussions about scotch eggs on the news have also helped to drive up sales by putting the old-fashioned delicacy front and centre of people’s minds this week, according to Peter Nutt, who runs Nutts Scotch Eggs in Weston-super-Mare. “I think there was subliminal advertising going on. If you hear the phrase ‘scotch egg’ mentioned enough times, it gets into your consciousness.”
He began offering local customers home deliveries of his scotch eggs during lockdown and, this week saw online demand double, while orders from pubs, restaurants and delis have jumped by a third. People are deciding to order a scotch egg and discovering they have more options than they used to, he said: “It’s not just about the humble pork sausage anymore. There’s an awful lot of choice for customers.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Making a meal out of it: scotch egg sales soar in tier 2 | Coronavirus