Greggs hikes guidance as vegan sausage rolls ‘fly off the shelves’
GREGGS has sold “hundreds of thousands” of its new £1 vegan sausage rolls in the first week of January, making it the fastest-selling new line in six years.
The bakery chain said the new savoury snack, which launched earlier this month in 900 of its stores with the biggest vegetarian food sales, sold out instantly. “It has taken us by surprise,” said Roger Whiteside, chief executive. “We didn’t know if it would sell or not but it has been flying off the shelves.”
Mr Whiteside added that sales of its normal sausage rolls were boosted by the new product, as customers who failed to lay their hands on the vegan roll settled for the original as an alternative. On average Greggs sells 1.5m meat sausage rolls per week. The launch of the Quorn-filled vegan sausage roll coincided with the start of “Veganuary”, a movement that encourages people to try plant-based diets during this month.
It also followed a petition by Peta last year signed by more than 20,000 people calling on it to launch a meat-free alternative. Greggs has since introduced a vegan soup and vegan Mexican bean wrap.
The news comes as Greggs nudged up its pre-tax profit guidance after total sales for the year to Dec 29 rose 7.2pc.
Despite “challenges in the consumer sector”, the retailer said like-for-like sales at its non-franchised stores grew 5.2pc in the fourth quarter, as customers swallowed more festive bakes and mince pies. It also cited strong growth in its breakfast menu and hot drinks.
The FTSE 250 company now expects underlying profit before tax to be at least £88m, slightly above the previous £86m guidance.
Mr Whiteside said the results were a “strong finish” to the year.
At the end of the year Greggs opened an outlet in London Bridge station, which it said had been its most successful travel location to date. It is opening in more industrial parks and office retail parks as alternatives to high-street stores. It is also targeting university campuses.
“We love university campuses,” said Mr Whiteside. “If we are not in them, we are around them.”
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