The UK’s largest bakery chain, Greggs, is to launch a vegan sausage roll this week.
The company, which sells 1.5m traditional pork sausage rolls a week, says the new version, which will be on sale from Thursday, has been designed to mirror some of the original’s classic features. It will have, Greggs says, 96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry – made with vegetable oil – and a “bespoke” Quorn filling.
The launch comes after 20,000 people signed a petition by animal welfare organisation Peta last year calling on Greggs to produce a vegan version of its bestselling item. News of the new product emerged via a leaked email to Peta in December but the launch details were confirmed on Wednesday.
The product arrives on Greggs’s shelves at the start of Veganuary – a growing movement that encourages people to embrace plant-based diets during January.
“Like many food retailers we have seen increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products,” said Roger Whiteside, the chief executive of Greggs. “We have been trying to develop a vegan version of our famous sausage roll for some time now. 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.”
This year in the UK record numbers of people have signed up to Veganuary and pledged to follow a diet free of animal products for at least a month. The charity’s head of campaigns, Rich Hardy, said that on Sunday alone 14,000 people promised to go vegan for January – a rate of one every six seconds.
According to the supermarket chain Waitrose, a third of UK consumers say they have deliberately reduced the amount of meat they eat or removed it from their diet entirely. One in eight Britons are now vegetarian or vegan, and a further 21% say they are flexitarian – that is to say they have a largely vegetable-based diet, supplemented occasionally with meat.
The new vegan sausage roll will be on sale in 950 of Greggs’s 1,850 UK shops from Thursday, costing £1 – 5p more than the traditional meat version. The chain added a savoury “Mexican bean vegan wrap” to its sandwich range in May last year.
Supermarkets are also expanding their plant-based ranges. Marks & Spencer has this week launched Plant Kitchen, a new collection of more than 60 meat and dairy-free plant-based fresh meals, salads and snacks. It includes a vegan coleslaw and potato salad, as well as the first supermarket vegan sourdough pizza.