Pubs scrambling for scotch eggs as demand surges tenfold

Demand for scotch eggs has surged after ministers said they were sufficient to meet COVID rules for ordering alcohol in pubs and restaurants.

Food business Brakes – which works with 50,000 UK pubs – told Sky News that demand had increased tenfold since England’s second lockdown ended.

More than 30 million people under Tier 2 rules in England currently need to order a “substantial meal” if they want to buy booze.

The scotch egg – an egg wrapped in sausage meat and coated in bread crumbs – has become the subject of much debate recently about whether they meet the criteria: Are they big enough? Do you need to order two? Do I need to sit down with a knife and fork?

Government ministers initially appeared confused over the classification of the once-unfashionable snack/meal.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said a scotch egg would probably count if it was served at a table, but Boris Johnson’s spokesman muddied the waters by saying “bar snacks” did not meet the new rules.

Michael Gove shifted position on the big issue during a series of interviews in the space of one morning earlier this month.

The cabinet minister first appeared to dismiss a “couple of scotch eggs” as a starter, before later conceding it was indeed a “substantial meal”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed to Sky News a day later: “People in the hospitality trade know what a substantial meal is… A starter can be a substantial meal, you can have a scotch egg as a starter.”

Judging from the spike in demand, many people now appear to view the scotch egg as the go-to food for ordering a pint.

But drinkers are also meant to leave a pub when they have finished their food, according to the PM’s spokesman, raising the possibility of customers eating painfully slowly so they can order another round.

Ahead of the rules coming in earlier this month, Alastair Kerr, from The Campaign For Pubs, told Sky News the measures posed “more questions than answers” but that publicans would “operate a common sense policy”.

Pubs in Tier 3 areas are currently shut apart from for takeaways and deliveries, while the “substantial food” rule does not apply in the few areas in Tier 1.