The TastyPie's New Clothes

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I’m certainly no traditionalist when it comes to Philadelphia foods—my iconoclastic leanings see me prefer the roast pork sandwich over the cheesesteak, wit or witout—but changing my beloved TastyPie? What manner of sacrilege is this?

New Box. Same Pie?

On entering a trusty Wawa not too long ago, I was confronted with one of these creme-colored boxes, purporting to house an authentic TastyPie.

For the sadly uninitiated, a TastyPie is traditionally housed in a blue cardboard box, the top wrapped in cellophane (a Coconut Creme example shown below, opened in the only proper TastyPie extraction method):

Why change a good thing?

Were these changes merely box-deep, or had some terrible, marketing-driven alchemy altered the substance within?

I had to find out . . .

Not all of the TastyPies offered for sale were in the new packaging; only the “big three” of Apple, Blueberry, and Cherry were wrapped up in this new finery on my mid-December Wawa run. The seasonal pies, plus the oft-neglected second tier pies (the delicious Lemons, Peaches, Coconut Cremes, and Eclairs) remained in the former blue uniforms.

A quick perusal of the TastyKake web site reveals no information about the change in wrappers, but this new wrapper appears related to their opening of a new baking facility in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in late 2009:

“By commissioning our first product line in the new bakery, we take a significant step toward the completion of this transformative capital project and we reaffirm our commitment to providing Tastykake’s loyal customers with delicious, wholesome baked snacks ‘just like mother used to make,'” said Charles Pizzi, Chief Executive Officer for Tasty Baking Company. “The decision to begin this transition with Tastykake’s beloved pie portfolio was purposeful in that the new packaging consumers will enjoy not only enhances freshness but more importantly, reflects the immense opportunities for innovation and efficiencies that we anticipate with the grand opening of the new Tastykake Bakery in 2010.”

(Emphasis added; quotation from Bakery Online.)

Fine, well, and good. But is the pie the same? And what is with this small tin the pie is packed in?

Armor Class: 15. Taste Class: Off the charts.

The new packaging looks like it will prevent the dreaded “smushed pie syndrome” that would occasionally afflict TastyPies, as the cellophane of the old style wrapper, while presenting the pie in its individual flaky and browned splendor, added little structural integrity to the wrapper. And anyone who has had most of the chocolate cover of the Eclair stuck to the bottom of the cellophane will surely celebrate this change.

I’m happy to report that the new style pie I had—for this is not only a new wrapper but the product of a new baking facility—was quite fine: flaky as ever, even more delicious browning, and solidly intact in its armor. I mean, look at that crust! Brilliant, just brilliant.

The true test, for me, will be if they can pull off a Coconut Creme pie with the same level of quality at the new facility, and I look forward to many taste tests to come.

Sadly, though, there is only one way to open these new packages, with a tear strip on one side. I’ll miss the debates about proper opening procedures . . .

13 thoughts on “The TastyPie's New Clothes

  1. Steve C

    I know I’m late to this string, but I live in Florida and it’s rare I get back home to pick up some of my beloved pies. I too am addicted to Tasty-klairs, so I was quite happy to come across a Wawa today on a business trip and get 4 of them. The first thing I noticed was the new packageing, which I can live with. But then I saw that pathetic strip of chocolate frosting and thought I had a defective one! It obviously wasn’t defective per the post above. I am amazed they shorted us on something like that.

    I am also not a a fan of the tin and the way it makes the edges burn. Aside from that, it seems wasteful and cannot be cheaper than the old way.

    Lastly the price jump is amazing. You could alwasy count on Tatstykake to inch up slowly in price with inflation, but always be a good deal. But $1.59 now for a pie? Wow.

    Overall, I am incredibly bummed about one of my favorite things from growing up in Philly getting messed up.

  2. Bucky Swider

    I agree about the Tasky-Klair. It’s ruined. They used to be my achilles heel of junk food- couldn’t walk past one without buying it. They were terrific. I had about 8-10 of the “new” tasty-klair, and they disappointed every time. So I don’t even bother anymore. But hey, I lost 15 pounds now!!! 🙂

  3. Tom H.

    I just read today about the Tasty being in financial trouble. After lamenting the horrid ruining of the classic Tasty-Klair last year, which has always been my absolute favorite, I now know why! Is nothing sacred? What they did to that poor Tasty-Klair is unforgivable!

  4. I smell a lawsuit

    Has anyone else noticed that with the “New” packaging you can’t see the entire chocholate eclair pie inside. The photo on the package shows chocholate icing over the entire top of the eclair but when you open it up there is ONLY a small strip of choc across the top. If that is not deceptive advertising I don’t know what is?

  5. I’ve had the opportunity to sample several more TastyPies from the new facility in the last couple of months, and I’ve begun to come around to the majority opinion in the comments here: they’re just not the same.

    My initial experience, as noted in the post, was positive, but the last several TastyPies, of all flavors, have had structurally weak crusts and lacked the browning pictured above.

    I remain hopeful that the TastyEngineers will figure out how to replicate the success of the original model, but as of right now, I’m not making special trips to the few Wawas down in the DC area to get TastyPies anymore.

  6. Lifelong Fan

    New packaging and size has bothered me also, to the point where I have finally decided to Google it and found your insightful web page. To me, the overall taste of the pie itself is still there, but there is definitely a higher crust-to-filling ratio with too much edging; definitely a downgrade from old-facility version in my opinion. Also not a fan of the new packaging, as I agree with Chris that the opening of the package was part of the experience. Not sure why, but found in the last few years I changed from the “tear-it-open” style as shown above, to just opening the side and sliding the pie out by tilting the package. Maybe just a kinder, gentler side emerging as I hit my mid-40’s, but alas, that has been taken from me also in the road to “progress”. Bring back the old pie and packaging.

  7. Rich Frye

    Bring back the original packaging AND the original pies – I dont mind the price increase and I might be able to accept a slightly smaller pie but these new pies dont look the same and dont taste the same either becasue their is a greater crust to filling ratio. They may be using the same basic ingredients but the final prpduct is NOT the Tastykake pie I have know and loved for over 40 years. T ome this would be like going to Pat’s, ordering a Cheese Wit and getting Swiss instead of Whiz !!!

  8. Lyshian

    If they are the same weight it is only because they weigh it WITH the tin.

    The new pies taste alright, but they jacked up the price AND made the pies smaller!! This is my problem with the new tastykake.

  9. Lauren

    The new pies are horrible!! Mine were burnt on the edges and fell apart because of the detached top and I had to use a fork. They are no longer the delicious and convenient desserts I once loved. The packaging is even less convenient in my opinion. I really hope they go back to the old ones.

  10. Not sure about any change in TastyPie sizes in the last few years — the Coconut Creme Pie from the old baking facility pictured above comes in at 4 oz just like the Blueberry from the new facility, and my post on TastyPies from May of 2008 also features a picture of 4 oz. pies.

    I can’t speak about other TastyKake products suffering (or not) the dreaded “grocery shrink-ray,” since I can never get myself to buy them when TastyPies are also available . . .

  11. John Lawson

    Hey while we were all looking at the new fancy coverings we did notice the size got smaller 4.25 oz to 4 oz. Wolf in sheeps clothing. Don’t you all look stupid! Check out the other products too, Krimpets especially. Way to look out your loyal customers when times are bad Tastykake!

  12. The Tasty-Klair has always been a bit of a different pie, I’ve found, with separation between the top crust and the bottom crust the norm rather than the exception. I would assume there’s a slightly different baking/filling procedure for that pie because of the chocolate frosting on the top cover.

    Should be interesting to see how the Tasty-Klair makes the transition to the new baking facility.

  13. Holly

    I love the TASY-KLAIR!!! Always my first choice! I am only concerned that the last few pies I have purchased, have fallen apart when I remove them from the carton????? Don’t get me wrong, I love the TASTY-KLAIR ! I am just having concerns over the change in quality!

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