We are delighted to be able to confirm that award-winning and renowned local business McCalls Bakers and Confectioners, based in Upperby, will become the Carlisle United official pie supplier for the 2021/22 season.
McCalls came out on top from a number of other local and national suppliers after a selection process, managed by the club and John Watt & Co, saw fans from the Carlisle United Supporters’ Groups come together to put the pies, pasties and sausage rolls to the test.
The club and John Watt & Co pulled together a number of potential suppliers for a blind-tasting session, with some excellent options on show.
Supporters made taste and quality their priority, with value for money also a serious consideration.
With the tasting session completed, votes were cast and McCalls were given the nod from a very satisfied group of judges.
Keith Ward from the Scottish Supporters’ Group said: “I really liked the taste and quality of the pies on offer from McCalls.
“Equally important was the firmness of the pies, which will make them easier to eat while standing or sitting at the match. It’s also fantastic that they are also a local business, which adds a real sense of community to the partnership.”
Simon Clarkson, the club’s SLO, said: “The selection process was based on blind tasting and included a range of pies and pasties from different suppliers.
“For me it wasn't just about the quality and taste. I considered the practicalities of eating them when standing up, which will be important for fans who don’t want to have food dropping away as they try to eat it.
“McCalls was a very popular choice at the session with the quality of the fillings and pastry getting a huge thumbs up. As has been said already, it’s also great that we will be in partnership with a well-known and respected local business.”
The commercial terms of the deal will mean that prices will be significantly reduced on previous seasons with the potential for attractive meal deals to be explored.
Speaking about the importance of the fans in the selection process, chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “We have said we want to work together with fans to improve and make our in-house catering operation a success, and this method of choosing our supplier is a demonstration of that commitment.
“Commercially it works for the club. The choice wasn’t easy, but we’ve listened to the fans. Having products fans prefer and that they see as value for money is an obvious path to take, and by asking supporters to take part in this process in this way ensures that is the case.
“We will be able to sell at lower price but still with much improved quality … and you don’t need to take my word for that, it’s what our fans have told us! It means we can offer much-improved value for money, but doing so as we work with a supplier with a proven track record, which gives the best commercial deal for the club compared with the alternatives.
“As always we want to support local businesses and suppliers wherever possible, and that has also been achieved. John Watt & Co supported the selection process by considering the supply and logistical issues, which are also crucial, as we need to know that we can provide a service, even for bigger games and with bigger crowds.
“We have to say the competition was strong, it was a tough choice, and we thank the other suppliers who put their products forward. We are now delighted to have McCalls on board.”
You could join our Fan Catering Panel and play a part in helping us to shape the catering provision at Brunton Park for the future.