Meat-free messaging boosts Greggs’ sales

The publicity surrounding its new vegan-friendly sausage rolls helped Greggs register an “exceptional sales performance” in the first part of the year.

In the seven weeks to February 16th, total sales increased 14.1%, whilst like-for-like sales. The period covers the Veganuary campaign, during which a record 250,000 worldwide are reported to have tried eschewing livestock products from their diets for the month of January.

Greggs reportedly sells 1.5 million traditional pork sausage rolls a week. Last year, more than 20,000 people signed a petition calling for it to offer a vegan-friendly alternative – and in January the product was launched.

“We have been trying to develop a vegan version of our famous sausage roll for some time now,” said chief executive Roger Whiteside at the time. “It has not been easy but our taste panel customers all love this one, so we have decided to launch it as our contribution to Veganuary.”

And the company’s most recent trading update suggests it was a wise move. “The performance builds on the strong finish to 2018, and has been supported by extensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll at the start of January. As a result, customer transaction numbers have increased, with additional sales mainly comprising savoury products such as the vegan-friendly sausage roll and our other iconic sausage rolls and bakes.”

Last year, the UK was the nation with the highest number of new vegan food products launched, toppling Germany from its number one spot, according to Mintel’s global new products database. As many as one in six (16%) food products launched in the UK in 2018 had a vegan or no animal ingredients claim, doubling from just 8% in 2015.

Mintel global food and drinks analyst Edward Bergen said there has been huge promotion of vegan restaurants and new ranges in the UK. “The most poignant of these is the expansion of supermarket own-label ranges in mainstream stores, with dedicated vegan ranges.”

Initiatives like ‘Veganuary’ and ‘meat-less Monday’ allow consumers to flirt with veganism without the long-term commitment. As more people reduce their meat intake, they experiment with more plant-based dishes catering for their flexitarian lifestyles – whether at home, on-the-go or in restaurants.

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