Preston pieman plans to foil pastry's 'perfect storm' as tray shortages begin to bite
For pieman Paul Addison it could become a simple case of take it or leave it.
Worries over a national pie shortage have left the popular Preston baker considering whether to reuse foil trays to ride out a global shortage.
For the moment Paul has enough stock to keep his shop in Fishergate Hill going for a few weeks yet.
But, if the shortfall begins to bite soon, he could be forced to sell his pastry treats in polystyrene dishes instead of the customary foil trays.
"I don't like having to reuse the foil cases, but if I have to I will," he said defiantly. "No-one wants a pie shortage - heaven forbid.
"I've got enough for the time being, so there's no real panic. But if my next order doesn't come on time then I might have to switch so I have enough foil trays to bake with."
A global shortage of aluminium foil, together with a 48 per cent increase in price this year and problems with production and shipping from the world's main producer China have conspired to produce a "perfect storm" according to leading piemakers.
The British Pie Association is urging people to recycle their old pie tins to help ease the problem.
Foil trays keep pies in shape during baking and prevent them developing a soggy bottom.
At Paul's Pies in Preston the baker goes through around 1,000 foil trays a week. And, although it is just a fraction of the number used by the bigger pie producers, the situation is still critical if the shortage continues.
"If we're short then it will be a case of having to take the pies out of their foil trays and using them again," he said.
"I'm sure most people will be quite happy to be served their favourites in a polystyrene tray as long as it means there isn't a pie shortage.
"I've noticed recently that the big trays I get for tray bakes have become much thinner. I suppose that's one way of making supplies stretch.
"Who knows? I might have to change the name of my shop from Paul's Pies to Paul's Pasties if it things get much worse."