Pasty wars

Baroness Deech

The humble Cornish pasty has become a symbol of what was disliked about the Budget last week.  Why should VAT  be charged on this warm popular staple food item, when most food is zero-rated? I confess that I have not eaten a pasty since I was a child.  I pass lots of pasty sellers as I commute between major rail stations daily, but I avoid them because I see the warm pasties sitting under a hot light for hours, largely in the open air, and wonder about the hygiene.  I also started to wonder about their nutritional value.  In your interest, I went out to investigate in my local high street this morning. 

This is what I found at a well known store.  A medium Cornish pasty, 671 calories, 63 carbs, 37g fat, 3.2g salt.  Cost £3.40.  At nearby Macdonalds, they gave me their printed list of nutrition breakdown facts.  For roughly the same price you could get 2 hamburgers, with fewer calories, fat and salt.  There is considerable criticism of hamburgers for being unhealthy, so why this sudden rush to defend the price of pasties?  Perhaps if the government had presented the price rise as similar to the extra tax on cigarettes, to deter unhealthy practices, it might have been more acceptable.

16 comments for “Pasty wars

  1. Lord Blagger
    31/03/2012 at 11:04 am

    It’s because its an increase in taxation with nothing in return.

    Not surprised that you’re

    1. Completely detached from reality
    2. In favour of more taxation to keep you in the life to which you have become attached.

    Shades of let them eat cake (or brioche depending on historical accuracy)

    • Rob
      31/03/2012 at 10:20 pm

      The Baroness says in her first sentence that she disliked last week’s budget. Not really favouring an increase in taxation is it?

      She goes on to compare pasties with McDonald’s burgers. That seems to me to be squarely in touch with the realities of the man on the Clapham omnibus. She also commutes by rail and worries about the hygiene and nutritional content of what she eats. Hardly detached from life’s everyday realities.

      Most taxation has *something* in return.

      I know I shouldn’t reply to trolls like you, but your post was badly reasoned and just wrong on the second point.

      You should probably eat your words. They’re VAT free.

      • Lord Blagger
        02/04/2012 at 9:23 am

        So which taxation has nothing in return?

        You’re missing the obvious questions.

        1. Do you want the things provided by taxation?
        2. Can you get those services cheaper by other means?
        3. Would you hand over your cash directly, for the services you receive, or would you say, the price is too high?

        The problem now is that large swathes of taxation isn’t going on services, its going on debts in its various forms. You aren’t getting the services for your money. In addition the debt is escalating exponentially.

    • Baroness Deech
      Baroness Deech
      31/03/2012 at 10:45 pm

      So you disregard all those years of warning about unhealthy food? And as an OAP I too pay more tax with little in return . . .

  2. Michael Parker
    31/03/2012 at 11:11 am

    On the same healthy vein, it would have been even more acceptable if at the same time they had removed VAT from smoothies, which have always had it charged on their purchase.

  3. Dave H
    31/03/2012 at 11:58 am

    While I haven’t looked into it that closely, I’ve seen several references now to the fact that a low-fat diet is not actually that good for us and that all the things we eat to avoid the fat are far worse for us. I’ve never considered hamburgers to be unhealthy, but then I’m now in the habit of buying steak mince from the local farm shop and making my own. They can pretty much tell you which local farm sourced the meat if you ask, too.

    As regards the hot food debate, I guess it’s only Health and Safety that stops shops selling you a cold pasty and letting you rent time in their oven (which presumably would be subject to VAT) to heat it up once it’s yours.

    • Twm O'r Nant
      08/04/2012 at 3:34 pm

      now in the habit of buying steak mince from the local farm shop and making my own

      Lean steak meat mince or fat steak meat mince?

      You have only got to look at the consistency of fat cooked off a steak to know that it can not be doing you much good, by comparison with a fruit, nuts and vegetables diet.

      Not that the body, well used, can not get rid of the fat, with some difficulty for an inactive metabolism.

  4. Gareth Howell
    31/03/2012 at 5:44 pm

    BD’s analysis is about right, although a good many pasties do not have as much gristle in them as a hamburger does, in which they have been ground up.

    The pastry factor is important. If the pastry is obviously very fatty, and the meat protein is too, or it is mainly oozy white flour inside with merely a taste of beef and no real evidence of it at all, then you are not getting much for your money.

    When I eat a Cornish pasty I do not consider the possibility of having good protein content inside. I am buying it for what looks like good pastry, and if there is any
    meat inside, it is a bonus.

    If the pastry is good, some times there is meat content too.

    The kilojoule energy value may be high but the cash value may be very low indeed, say 10p in a pie costing £1.50 .

    • maude elwes
      03/04/2012 at 12:22 pm


      Gristle in hamburgers, you should be so lucky.

      We are being sold more than junk food and our government is colluding in the entire disguise of this prodction as acceptable in fast food chains. Why is that I wonder? Any ideas?

      It’s all out there and yet, it is never advertised and no warning is given on the package. Worse, children are bribed to eat this obesity making mess, by the advertising of free toys, ‘if you eat this sheet, we will make you diabetic’ is not considered a good heading over the shopfront to warn the parents or the public.’ Now I wonder why they do that with cigarettes but not this kind of horrorr story?

      In fact this is hushed up. And the reason, is, how will we feed the populations if we cannot use chemicals and additives, along with those wonderfully cleaver GM products. They will all die if we don’t force feed them this way. ROTFL.

      We see these great fat human beings getting to the weight of the green giant, but, the claim is, it’s the people, they eat too much. That is a lie. They are poor and this is cheap and so it literally kills two birds with one stone.

      In the meantime, the pharmacies and the health departments, across the world, are growing in wealth, along with the fast food companies and governments conspire in it by turning a blind eye. As we get poorer and fatter, the multi nationals take it all. I think the mantra is, winner takes all!

      • Gerard Mac
        29/05/2012 at 9:30 am

        I agree wholeheartedly. The more real harm I see the Tories do the more I wonder why there is not a revolution in this country. Maybe the fast food they so actively encourage has softened our brains?

  5. Chris K
    31/03/2012 at 7:04 pm

    Maybe time to simplify the whole tax system?

    I see no reason why temperature, whether it goes stale or soft, or whether an adult midget could conceivably wear an item should have any bearing on its VAT rate.

  6. Sharon morgan
    01/04/2012 at 9:21 am

    Pasties are fine as long as they are part of a balanced diet and pasties vary in content, texture and ingredients so there can even be healthier pasties and if they’re warm then we pay tax on them. What a pathetic way to try and distract the people from what’s really going on in government with the NHS and Welfare reform bill. They won’t announce that it’s because of health when they know full well that there are healthier pasties you can make and buy. It doesn’t wash with us at all.
    Any minute now i’m sure they are going to announce that it was an April fools joke or something.

  7. MilesJSD
    02/04/2012 at 6:36 am

    A hair could be gainfully split here:
    “calories” may not be the best guideline.

    It appears that the “Glycemic Load” is more relevant and of health-building usefulness.

    From one’s life-experience:
    a Jill Butterfield at Keele Unioversity in 1954 taught a simple quote that has turned out to have many applicable scenarios within which to be called upon during one’s Lifeplace-, as well as Workplace-, hours:

    (“) O God, have me to do the right thing, and for the right reason(“)
    (TS Eliot “Murder In The Cathedral”)

    Split-hair instance, in view of this blog so far:
    Blagger might have it partly right, that the writer may be “detached from reality” –

    one such reality here being that the locus of GL is more “real” than “Calories-burned”.
    (GL simnply meaning ‘the rate at whioh any sugar is taken up adn used up in the body’)

    Appeal: we are trying to deal “governancially” with common, generic, and somewhat ultimate, human-health-building & survival matters herein, aren’t we ?

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    04/04/2012 at 6:45 am

    The Pasty shop in Dorchester Dorset,is said to be the best in the world, and not just by people who get free ones and live within 400m.

    They sell 22 different kinds of pasty, and they are full of what they say they are full of, and don’t just pretend.

    The effect of selling pasties day in day out, has its effect on the trader who denies that his pasties are very good (if you tell him so, as a complement)

    “A pasty is a pasty!” he opines.

    He pays his taxes, and my treasury oriented rsepect may be what bothers them.

    It can’t be very difficult to decided how much profit there is per pasty/pastie, or how much tax per pasty or how much flour per pasty or…… as long as you know how many you have sold per day!

    They are splendid dishes, consumed enthusiastically on public benches in the vicinity by many people. No shame there!

  9. maude elwes
    14/04/2012 at 3:06 pm

    Ah, but are the pasty shops ours? Or, are they a figment of the imagination?

    Our country is being bought up by foreigners at a speed previously unknown. All with the approval of our government. And as they buy at speed so we lose control of our destiny. As we all know, corporate policies are making their way to governance through the back door. And we are paying for it right left and centre. Until there is nothing left for any of us.

    Read this and sweat for what the future is going to be for ‘our’ country.

    How they must laugh out loud at how easy it was to sell the dumb Brits a confidence trick packaged as ‘Globalisation.’

  10. Twm O'r Nant
    16/04/2012 at 5:42 am

    Go to live in Oz and forget it, Maude.

Comments are closed.