Gingsters sustainability journey

“Sustainability is integral to our journey with the focus on social responsibility becoming more important for our planet and environment” (Ginsters).

For the inhabitants of the English county of Cornwall (population 568,000) the pasty is part of their heritage and culture. Dating back to the 13th century, 120 million pasties are now produced in the county each year, accounting for an annual turnover of £300 million or 20% of the county’s food and drink sector. Some 2000 people are employed in the sector, and it contributes at least 25% of its revenue to the local economy, including £15 million to the Cornish farming sector for fresh ingredients. Geographic Indication protected since 2011, the Cornish pasty is a hand-held D-shaped meat and vegetable pie most famously cooked by 19th-century Cornish housewives for their tin miner husbands to take to work with them. Today, however, they are sold in every community in the county and produced in over 50 bakeries, the largest of which, Ginsters, produces 180,000 pasties a day.

The business was founded in 1969 when Geoffrey Ginster, a former Devon clotted cream maker moved to Cornwall and began baking pasties in an old egg-packing plant on his farm in Callington.  He started with a staff of four and quickly grew the business so that by 1970 it was producing 48,000 pasties a day and employing 30 people. In 1977, Ginsters sold the business to the Melton Mowbray-based food manufacturers, Samworth Brothers,  who grew it further and closed the original factory in 1984, having opened, nearby,  a new highly automated bakery that was capable of producing 1.5 million pasties a week. They then started advertising the brand and selling the pasties nationally via the country’s major supermarkets, as well as in motorway service stations, petrol stations, and convenience stores.

Although the business is now very much a national enterprise it is still based in Callington and purchases its ingredients locally, particularly its vegetables. Its meat is 100% British assured and no artificial flavouring, colouring or preservatives are added. Many of the company’s 700+ have been recruited from the local area and the company recognises that its employees are “one of the most integral parts to our business” and it is their passion that has been responsible for Ginster’s success. The business also recognises its responsibility to the community and apart from offering work placements to students of Callington Community College it has partnered with Plymouth Argyle Football Club and the Argyle Community Trust to reduce poverty in the local area. The project is focused on the 35% of children reported to be living in poverty in Plymouth and involves fund- and awareness-raising, education, and food donations, with Ginsters pledging to feed 100,000 children.

Apart from contributing to the Cornish economy and society, the pasty contributes to the County’s environment. According to Dr Xiaoyu Yan of the University of Exeter, each Cornish Pasty produces a carbon footprint of around 1.5 -2.0kg of Carbon compared with 3.2kg for a roast meal or 5kg for a lasagne. The tool used to measure this impact is being made freely available to Cornwall’s pasty makers in order for them to identify and reduce the pasty’s environmental impact. Hence it can be seen that the Cornish pasty in general and Ginsters, in particular, contribute to SDGs 13 (Climate Action), 15 (Life on Land), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).


Peck, T. (2011), Official: Only Pasties from Cornwall are Cornish. The Independent. 23rd February.

Rowe, R., (2021), How one small-town pastry became a worldwide sensation. Fodor’ 28th September.

University of Exeter (2021), Tool developed to measure the carbon footprint of a Cornish Pasty. University of Exeter Research News.


© / Harmonious Entrepreneurship Ltd. (2020-2023). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author(s) noted is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harmonious Entrepreneurship Ltd with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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1 comment

  1. As I was reading this, fond memories of how the traditional “tiddy-oggi” (?) or Cornish pasty formed an integral part of holidays many years ago. And, working closely with Exeter University, the company clearly demonstrates how collaboration with academia/scientists can underpin their green credentials. Maintaining a workforce if 700+ takes some managing and a huge contribution to the economy of Devon and Cornwall.


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