Advantages Great value for money
Disadvantages Basic packaging
If I told you I'd just bought a pack of six individual apple pies for 37p, what would your initial thoughts be? If you're very slightly greedy, as I am, then your thoughts probably won't go any further than the simple 'apple pie to share'. However, the more cost conscious amongst us might take note of that 37p. I mean, that isn't a whole lot of money to pay for six apple pies, is it? Mr Kipling sells his apple pies for £1.03 for six in my local asda, so how can these be so cheap?Well, I'm guessing here, but I'd imagine that Asda have cut corners wherever possible, when producing their Smart Price Apple Pies. For example, these apple pies are sat on your bog-standard six slot plastic cake case, each encased in its own little metal cup, then all six sealed into one plastic bag which proclaims 'Asda Smart Price 6 Apple Pies on the front. There's a small picture of a cup and saucer on the front but that is the only decoration on the pack. All other information on the plastic bag is in green, black or white ink - the only three colours used, thus cutting down on ink costs. Obviously, as these pies are in a see-through plastic bag, not a costly cardboard box, there's also no need to stick an expensive picture on the front of how wonderful the apple pies look, we can actually see the real pies and make our decision from that.
Well, I didn't see the pies before I bought them, because I shopped online, but I certainly wasn't disappointed when they arrived. Before even opening the packet I could see that the pies are beautifully golden brown, with thick pastry and a sprinkling of sugar glinting on top. Of course, the minimalist packaging is also better for the environment, so you're a double winner on that score, but I'd suggest that Asda only make a very minimal profit on their Smart Price produce, if any profit at all. I was taught when I worked at my local Safeway many years ago that these very low price products are offered as a 'loss leader' to get people into the store in the hope that once they're in they'll spend extra money they hadn't intended to spend. Not quite sure how that works out with shopping online, though…Checking the packaging I was pleased to notice that these pies are suitable for vegetarians, some Smart Price products I've recently bought haven't been, which is always a disappointment. For allergy sufferers the advice is clear, this product contains gluten, wheat and sulpher dioxide and may also contain traces of nuts/seeds.
Of course, apple pie is never going to be an aid to dieting, but if you do have a craving you'll need to know that each one of these little pies contains a whole 176kcal, 12.6g sugar and 7.2g fat - which is making me feel just a little guilty, as I've just eaten three of the little devils. Still, they did taste exceedingly good… But I'm getting ahead of myself again, I do have a habit of doing that.When I first opened the pack of apple pies I certainly couldn't smell any apple at all, but then I reasoned that the apple is all sealed inside the pastry, so I wouldn't be able to smell it. The only thing I could smell was the pastry, which does make sense. It smells warm, even though it's freezing cold today. Warm, and, well just like pastry, to be honest. Sorry, smells were never my best point. The pie comes out of it's foil cup easily, and at this point looks no different to any other apple pie I've ever eaten. The apple filling is generous (14% according to the pack) and sweet; the marriage between apple and pastry is a good one, though this is definitely a pie for the sweeter toothed amongst us. The pastry itself is soft, sweet and almost melt in the mouth, almost, but not quite. There's still a little bit of chewing required.
I'm far too greedy to wait to heat them through, so ate these pies cold, straight from the packet. However, I bet they'd be even better warmed through and served with a hot custard or a scoop or two of really creamy icecream.Over all, for 37p a packet this is a very nice apple pie, and a damn good value product. Of course, Smart Price is a 'no frills' range, but if you did a blind taste testing of an assortment of apple pies, I think these would still score highly. The only criticism I have is that the apple in the first of the three pies I greedily munched today was just a little bit too crunchy, it felt as if it should've been cooked for just a little longer. The other two were fine, and if I'm honest, I've had the same 'slightly too crunchy' problem with named brands of apple pies too.
As it's getting closer to Christmas now, I've been checking out No Frills products from all of the major supermarkets, in a hunt for better value. Some of them have been exactly what I'd previously expected of a basic product - Sainsbury's foam fruits, for example, are not my cup of tea at all. However, in general I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of Asda Smart price products, this one included.I may have only begun to shop 'Smart Price' because I'm on a budget, but I don't think I'll stop when the budget increases again - this has been a real eye opener for me. This pack of six apple pies is, in my opinion, every bit as good as pies you'd spend two or three times as much on - and if we're honest here, once the wrapper is in the bin and these are displayed nicely, who's going to know they're Smart Price anyway?
If you're an apple pie fan, my advice would be to give them a try. If you enjoy them you'll be making a huge saving on your usual brand. Even if you don't like them as much as I do, you've only lost 37p. Plus, even if you find anything wrong with your pies, Asda offer a refund and replace guarantee - so you really can't lose.
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