New Zealand's first Vegan Pie Awards

While you may be familiar with Bakels Supreme Pie Awards, chances are you haven't yet heard of its vegan counterpart.

It's the first year of the plant-based pie competition, and being vegan, that means no animal products like milk, eggs or butter.

Judging took place at The Butcher's Son in Auckland on World Vegan Day on Thursday.

"We've had a lot of chilli kind of pies with kidney beans and that sort of thing - a lot of pumpkin, and sweet potato," says judge Josh Barlow, executive chef at The Sugar Club at Auckland's Sky Tower.

But what does that mean for the pastry?

"I'm not sure what they're using exactly, but probably a lot of olive oils and margarine, and that sort of thing. But a couple of them have really stood out as really good pastries," said Mr Barlow.

There's not a shred of real mince or cheese in sight. But the pies still look appealing, so all you meat-eaters out there, let's cast any judgement aside for just a second.

"There were a couple of pies that were visually and texturally the same as a mince and cheese pie that we're all used to," said Mr Barlow.

And that's coming from a meat-eating and meat-loving chef.

There's three judges, 90 pies and seven flavour categories in the first ever Vegan Pie Awards - a competition born from baker Philippa Stephenson's refusal to take no for an answer from the Bakels Supreme Pie Awards.

"They said no vegans, and I thought, 'Well, this is rubbish. I sell hundreds and hundreds of these pies a day'."

Ms Stephenson went to the New Zealand Vegan Society, and they made their own competition.

"Here was another example of the food industry not accepting that vegan food was a real category," she said.

She's still hopeful that Bakels will catch on next year.

"The prestige of having a Bakels Pie Award would be the pinnacle of my career, but I'm not prepared to eat an animal to get one."

As for the Vegan Pie Awards supreme winner: A spiced apple and blueberry pie took out the top spot.