Canstar Blue’s frozen pie review has seen McCain, Coles and Four’n Twenty compared on their taste and quality of ingredients, variety of meals, ease of preparation, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Is it really a celebration if there isn’t a plate of party pies on the table? Probably not. Plus, who can say no to a delicious flaky pie crust and a mouth-watering meaty filling that’s soaked in gravy and encased in a pastry base? A chunky slice of Australians apparently can’t, with one in three (34%) usually picking up a frozen pie during their regular grocery shop.
To help you decide which brand serves up the best pies for your belly (and budget), Canstar Blue has again surveyed nearly 300 consumers about the frozen pie(s) they purchased and consumed in the last six months. In this review, we’re taking a pretty high-level look at the food products you could reasonably include within the frozen pies category, including both sweet and savoury meals, as well as some of the near neighbours to your traditional frozen meat pies, such as cottage pie and shepherd’s pie. It’s all yummy to us!
Respondents were asked to rate frozen pie brands on their taste & quality of ingredients, meal variety, ease of preparation, value for money, and overall satisfaction. So, which brand offers the frozen pies Aussies want to stick a fork in?
McCain came in (or out of the oven) hot in this year’s frozen pie review, rating best across the board as the only brand that achieved five stars in any category!
Here are the best brands for frozen pies in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review:
Aussies have rated McCain’s frozen pies best for taste and quality, meal variety, ease of preparation, value for money and overall satisfaction. Runner-up Coles followed behind on four stars across most of the board, while Four’n Twenty rounded up the scores on three stars overall.
Now, let’s ‘meat’ the different brands compared in our 2021 frozen pie ratings and dig into how their frozen pies stack up.
McCain is one of the leading brands for supermarket frozen meals in Australia, offering everything from frozen veggies and fries to frozen pizzas and ready-made meals under its Hearty Meal, Healthy Choice and Man Size ranges. All things considered, the brand’s frozen pie selection remains modest, with the famous McCain’s Shepherd’s Pie the only product sold in most supermarkets (at the time of writing), in addition to the occasional frozen dessert pie. Availability may also depend on supermarket location and size.
Coles is one of several supermarket giants to roll out a selection of frozen pies, offering both savoury and sweet options. Compared to some other brands, Coles’ range tends to cater to families looking for a bigger set of party pies or sausage rolls, rather than single pies. Most products provide a four-pack, 12-pack and 24-pack. Other large varieties are similarly available, including the Coles Chunky Beef Party Pies and Beef & Onion Sausage Rolls (18-pack).
Although you can still get smaller portions, such as the Coles Frozen Chicken & Vegetable Pie (four-pack) and Frozen Fruit Apple Pie Snack (four-pack). Prices for Coles’ frozen pies range between $0.80 and $10.
What’s a footy game without a meat pie? Supposedly not much, according to the makers of ‘Australia’s original fan food’ – Four’n Twenty. Aside from the standard ‘meat’ flavour, which is available in either a four-pack or six-pack, the brand’s Classic selection also offers the Beef & Cheese Pie and Chicken & Vegetable Pie in packs of four. For something smaller, the Beef Traveller Pie and the Beef, Cheese & Bacon Traveler Pie are sold in a two-pack.
Four’n Twenty additionally has the ‘Hot’ range selling a variety of flavours, like the Real Chunky Steak & Mushroom Pie and Hungry Man Sausage Roll. The Party range also has other go-to favourites, including the 12-pack party pies.
For something fancy, the Premium range has options like Angus Beef and Beef & Pepper. Otherwise, you can find more creative flavours such as Classic Beef Pie with Golden Ale from the limited-edition selection. Prices usually range between $6 and $9.50.
Woolworths may be the “fresh food people”, but that doesn’t mean it can’t enjoy a cheeky pre-made frozen pie once in a while. You’ll be able to spot options like the Beef Pie and Chicken & Vegetable Pie, available in packs of four, which usually sell for $3.50 or $4.35, depending on which you get. There’s also a six-pack of Woolworths’ meat pies for $4.
With a name that’s claimed to be synonymous with ‘quality and service in Australia since 1893’, it’s no wonder why Sargents transformed a small family-owned bakery in Sydney to what the brand describes as one of the country’s largest pie manufacturers. Its products now include a Premium Range, Traditional Range, Party Range and a selection of Aussie Angus pies.
Most Sargents pies are sold in a four-pack, such as the Premium Slow-Cooked King Island Beef in Rich Gravy, although there are smaller two-pack options like its Premium Selection Vegetable Pies. Plus, there’s the ‘all-time favourite’ Red Party Pack, which offers 18 sausage rolls and 18 party pies.
Sargents also purchased the Scott’s brand in 1978, claiming to continue serving customers the Scott’s ‘quality pie at a very reasonable price’. Prices for Sargents pies range between $5.50 and $13.50, while Scott’s Pies tend to cost $6.99.
Since opening its oven doors in 1954, Mrs Mac’s has turned the family-owned business into one of the most recognisable pie manufacturers in Australia. Fancy yourself a sweet tooth? Or do you prefer your pies to be savoury? Either way, the brand has five ranges to suit a variety of cravings. These include Mrs Mac’s, Mrs Mac’s Lite’n Up, Mrs Mac’s Special Batch, Mrs Mac’s Plant-Based and Mrs Mac’s Desserts.
The brand keeps things traditional with its regular Mrs Mac’s variety. Some of these include the Pepper Steak Pie, Potato Top Beef Pie, Mega Beef and Angus Steak Pie. There are additionally plant-based alternatives like the Smokey BBQ Jackfruit Pie and Spicy Vegetable Curry Pie. Prices usually vary between $2.50 and $7.
Whether you’re fuelling up with a bacon, egg and cheese brekky pie, or rushing to the supermarket for a 24-pack of party pies for your child’s birthday party, frozen pies are a convenient and quick way to ease those hunger cravings.
But if our survey results are anything to go by, it looks like Aussies don’t want to settle for a quick fix. Analysis of our research revealed that taste and quality of ingredients continue to be the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction, followed by value for money. Meanwhile, ease of preparation was seen as the least important factor. Two in five survey respondents (45%) also agreed that premium brands of frozen pies taste better than cheaper brands.
However, a frozen pie might not be enough for dinner, according to the 14% of people who said they usually need to eat more than one because portions are too small.
While frozen pies may be convenient, it’s not always the most affordable choice in the long run, so it’s important to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Nelea33/ Shutterstock.com.
McCain dominated our latest frozen pie ratings as the best-rated brand for every criteria of consumer satisfaction:
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and eaten a pre-made frozen pie (i.e. from the frozen section of the supermarket) in the last six months – in this case, 289 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.