Well, it’s a nice problem to have. A sales boom off the back of an innovative vegan product forcing to keep going back to the City to tell your investors that you are making more money than expected. Production needed to be increased to satisfy demand. If only running a business was always so easy.
That’s the nice position that Greggs found itself in after launching its Quorn-filled vegan sausage roll which was launched in January. The fungus-based protein is mass-produced by Quorn Foods in its factory near Darlington, County Durham. The product has been a runaway success and other businesses have not been slow to notice how Greggs have benefited from the vegan trend.
Greggs’ chief executive, Roger Whiteside, has now confirmed that his R&D department is working on vegan recipes for all of Greggs best selling foods.
“We are working away to see if we can come up with a version of all our bestselling lines because people want vegan options,” he told LBC. “If we can produce something that tastes just as good as the meat version, then that will sell very successfully. That’s what’s been shown with the vegan sausage roll.”
That decision might even be in line for the “easiest business decision of the year” award, but it is well deserved. Whiteside has completely reinvented what was a traditional bakery in the five years that he has been in charge. Recognising that consumers were increasingly buying their bread at supermarkets, he set about adding healthier options to drill down into the booming “modern food as you go” market and compete with the likes of Pret A Manger.
The vegan sausage roll has changed people’s perception of Greggs.
“The thing that people misinterpret in the UK market is that if it’s low price it must be low quality,” said Whiteside recently “But customers are wising up to that because of what I call the Aldi/ Lidl effect. Low price doesn’t have to be low quality.”
A £35m Vegan Dividend
Greggs shareholders received a £35m special dividend in July after sales at increased by 10.5% and profits more than doubled to £40.6m in the first six months of 2019. The company’s shares have nearly doubled in value over the past year.
The vegan sausage roll launch was given a huge PR coup when Piers Morgan tweeted that Greggs bosses were “PC-ravaged clowns” for bringing the product out. Greggs’ reply is a business classic:
“Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you.”
Greggs would be delighted to get such goldern publicity for their upcoming launches. Whiteside has hinted that a vegan doughnut, as well as plant-based milk are in their sights. No details have been supplied so as not to give too much away to their competitors.