Connoisseurs of one of Scotland’s oldest and most filling delicacies have launched a campaign urging a leading high street baker to reinstate it.
Nearly 1000 people have added their name to a petition calling on Greggs to reintroduce the macaroni pie to its stores after it was usurped by new Mediterranean and Asian inspired lines.
Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale, a candidate for the Scottish Labour leadership, is among those to have backed the lighthearted campaign, which has grown online in recent days.
With a cheesy macaroni filling inside a hot water crust pastry case, the humble pie is seen by many as the apotheosis of Scotland’s poor diet. But supporters of the carbohydrate-rich treat point out that it is healthier than a Scotch pie or a steak bake and provides a savoury option for vegetarians.
Ms Dugdale took to social media to rally support from other prominent female politicians at Holyrood, tweeting a link to the petition to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
“Sisters, I think some teamwork on this one is essential,” she wrote. And although Ms Dugdale had no response from either of her fellow party leaders, she described her support as a “wee bit of fun,” and pointed out that the macaroni pie was the “low-cal option” .
While a Scotch pie and a bridie have 322 and 343 calories respectively, the macaroni pie contains just 262 calories.
The campaign was launched on Friday by Paul Tonner, a graphic designer from Falkirk. By Monday, his petition on the change.org website had attracted 100 signatories, but Ms Dugdale’s profile has brought a surge of support in the past 24 hours. Last night, 919 people had added their names.
Mr Tonner, 43, set up the page after leaving his local branch of Greggs disappointed.
“I went up to the counter and she said, ‘We’re not getting any back in’,” he explained.
“I was a bit confused and straight away called the customer services. They confirmed it was taken off the menu. I was very disappointed.”
The macaroni pie is also produced by the Shotts-based bakery group, Bells, and is sold at most supermarkets. It can be found sporadically in butchers, while even the occasional fish and chip shop will go that step further and serve it battered with chips. The pie is also popular in parts of the Caribbean, where it is often adorned with meat and extra spices.
For many Scots, however, the pie is synonymous with Greggs and Mr Tonner believes the company has erred by replacing it with the likes of a Mediterranean pork roll and green Thai chicken lattice.
He asked: “They have said they’re replacing it with more fancy things, but who wants a Mediterranean sausage bake?”
A spokeswoman for Greggs said: “While we appreciate that some customers will miss the macaroni pie, we are continually refreshing our product range in line with customer demand to provide a variety of food-on-the-go options in our shops.”