Greggs vegan sausage rolls boost sales
In a March update on current trading, the UK no-frills food chain Greggs has reported a sharp rise in sales, mostly thanks to the launch of its vegan sausage roll at the beginning of the year. Sales surged 9.6 percent in the seven weeks to 16 February. The product was launched at the start of the year to coincide with Veganuary when many people go vegan for a month and when there is a post-Christmas focus on New Year diet, fitness and health resolutions.
Greggs had sent the vegan rolls to influencers in a sleek box similar to the iconic iPhone package, which was shared extensively in online and mainstream media. However, what made the product viral was a tweet from Piers Morgan, a former tabloid editor, and breakfast TV host, to his 6.5 million followers: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.” In response, @GreggsOfficial replied “Oh hello Piers, we've been expecting you.” leading to the industry magazine PR Week to call the ad campaign "a master class in public relations."
Greggs has also announced that annual sales had broken through GPB1 billion for the first time, with pre-tax profits last year up 15 percent to GPB82.6 million, the fifth consecutive year of increased profits.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside has said Greggs had spent "millions of pounds" in an effort to transform the perception of the chain, which has already held one-off evening openings for events such as Valentine's Day. Greggs has 1,953 stores across the UK and plans to have 2,000 stores by the end of 2019.