Greggs (GRG.L), one of Britain’s biggest bakeries, says it “has made an exceptionally strong start to 2019,” helped massively by the popularity of its vegan sausage roll.
The baker, which is famed for its pivot to providing healthier options for those who want food on-the-go, said in its trading update that the seven weeks to 16 February 2019 saw total sales grow by 14.1%, compared to the same period last year of 6.2%. It added that like-for-like sales in company-managed shops jumped by 9.6% in the same period in 2019, compared with 2.9% the previous year.
“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,” said Greggs, which will report its full results on 7 March.
“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. Overall the board now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) is likely to be ahead of its previous expectations.”
In 2018, Britons spent over £1.3bn ($1.68bn) on vegan and vegetarian products, according to research by supermarket shopping app Ubamarket. Figures also showed that almost 19 million meat-eaters now buy vegan and vegetarian products and almost 12 million are stocking up on gluten-free meals despite having no intolerance.
Research from supermarket Waitrose said 33% of people have meat-free or meat-reduced diets and there are 3.5 million vegans in the UK.
January is particularly a popular time for people to try vegetarianism or veganism (the rise of Veganuary, for example), as it’s the most health and weight conscious month of the year.