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Liverpool pie company launches ‘Pie It Forward’ to support city’s community food pantries

4 weeks ago

Liverpool pie company launches ‘Pie It Forward’ to support city’s community food pantries

An award-winning Liverpool baker has launched ‘Pie It Forward’ to support community food pantries across the city.

Denise Pendleton Snape, who runs The Gluten Free Pie Company with husband Matt, has teamed up with Feeding Liverpool for the new initiative.

All of Denise’s pies are gluten free and plant based, and she wants to help make sure that people going to their local food spaces don’t miss out on those options.

She explains:

“I know there are coffee shops in Liverpool who do pay it forward schemes on coffees which work really well so this is a similar idea but with pies,”

“So many people are gluten free now because they’re coeliac or they have food intolerances, we’re a veggie GF family, so it’s great to be able to give families like ours the opportunity to have a really tasty locally made pie.”

Pie It Forward - Gluten Free Pie Company

Denise, who lives in Aigburth, says the idea initially came from one of her regular customers who runs the Christchurch food pantry on Linnet Lane near Sefton Park.

“Cath works with Feeding Liverpool and for the past couple of years she’s been ordering pies once a week or once a month for her food pantry when they have funding because she believes it’s important to provide a plant-based alternative.

“People using the pantries pay a weekly subscription and get a bag of shopping in return, so sometimes that includes one of our pies.

“Cath approached us and suggested it would be great to have a pay it forward scheme where people could buy a pie and donate it and we were really up for that. It’s a win win because it supports our business, it keeps money in Liverpool, and we’re providing a service that helps the food pantries.”

Denise first started The Gluten Free Pie Company 10 years ago, not long after she was diagnosed with coeliac disease, meaning she could no longer eat gluten.

“There was nothing on the market then, I was vegetarian and I was sick of eating carrot sticks and hummus when everyone else was getting Greggs pasties! I thought, why isn’t there a GF pasty?

“It was like a lightbulb moment. I bought myself a pie machine on eBay, made some and had a pie night for friends, then did a little market and sold out very quickly.

“I just knew there was a demand for it. At the time I was a veggie chef at The Egg in town, so I knew I could sell the pies through them, and I knew the Mattas family so I sold them there too. 

“Very quickly it went from being a part-time hobby to a full-time family business where me and my husband had to leave our jobs to run it.”

Pie It Forward - Gluten Free Pie Company

With a kitchen based in L8 by the Baltic, the business still sells through farmer’s markets and shops like Mattas and Purple Carrot, as well as cafes and restaurants including Papillon on Hope Street, and Bookbinder and the Old School House on Lark Lane which serve the pies as their vegan or GF option. 

They’ve won silver and bronze in the Great British Pie Awards, and demand has grown so much they now bake 2,000 to 3,000 pies every month.

“There are no additives in our pies, we use all fresh ingredients so it’s proper homemade food – we’re basically making thousands of people’s teas for them!”

Denise is baking the Pie it Forward pies at a discounted price, and they are available to donate online via The Gluten Free Pie Company.

“People can go on the website, they don’t have to order for themselves, and they can buy a Pay it Forward pie for £3.50 for someone else,” she says. “Once we get to 20 or 30 orders, I just contact Feeding Liverpool and find out which food pantry they want them delivered to in that week.”

To support Pie it Forward for Liverpool Food Pantries visit the Gluten Free Pie Company website.

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