Julie Tucker
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The sausage roll that made Greggs the highest FTSE 100 performer

From the sausage roll to chicken burgers, the vegan craze rolls on strong

It seems like only yesterday that 2019 kicked off with an online controversy fitting for our modern age of polarisation and politicisation. Greggs, a beloved bastion of British culture and chief connoisseurs of our nation’s treasured sausage rolls, had announced the launch of their very own alternative vegan sausage roll to their roster of delicacies.

Greggs: The Pie-d Piper
Despite carnivorous detractors such as the over zealous Piers Morgan, who went as far as to performatively regurgitate the roll in disgust live on his Good Morning Britain show, Greggs’ new product was a triumph of gastronomic proportions.

So much so that in May the company raised its profit guidance for the third time in this year alone. Indeed, it was reported that Greggs was the highest performer on the FTSE 100. Take that, Piers!

For months, competitor fast food chains have looked on at Greggs’ success with considerable envy. And yet, it would have been hard to foresee, of all our favourite high street staples, that Kentucky Fried Chicken would quickly follow suit, with the recent launch of a new vegan chicken burger.

Comprised of a Quorn fillet, vegan mayonnaise, fresh lettuce, a soft-glazed bun, and a generous serving of self-awareness, “The Imposter” burger has begun its trial period in selected stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The vegan crusade
Nevertheless, in sight of the bigger picture, this news is only a small footnote in the story of a much more far-reaching movement away from meat consumption.

Traditionally, veganism has been associated with both philosophical oppositions to animal abuse, as well as the personal health benefits of a plant-based diet. In recent years, however, the very serious environmental costs associated with the production of meat, have begun to reshape attitudes towards this lifestyle.

In a contemporary political universe where people are increasingly distrustful of the ability of lawmakers to make headway in environmental policy, many young people have felt compelled to take up the reins of the fight against climate change themselves by rejecting all products derived from animals.

This was recently supported by a study done by researchers at the University of Oxford, who concluded that the “single biggest way” that an individual can reduce their carbon footprint is by eating a vegan diet.

Fertile ground, new markets
Although vegans currently constitute little over 1% of the total population of the UK, a growing number of flexitarians – people who will only occasionally eat meat and fish – is representative of a developing national consciousness around the harms of the meat industry.

Indeed, the proportion of new vegan products entering the market have more than tripled since 2014, jumping from 7.1% to 22.4% in five years. Last year it was estimated that in the UK the vegan market was worth around £740m and was expected to grow to a whopping £1.1bn by 2023.

The office environment
Undoubtedly, professional working spaces have also begun to adapt to this new trend and are developing more environmentally conscious means of operating. Ever conscious of their impact on the world we share, all Headspace coworking spaces have been powered by renewable energy resources since October of last year. In addition, more recently, food recycling points were installed into all kitchens, utilising anaerobic digestion to ensure to the utmost that environmental friendliness is prioritised.

Coming soon will be the introduction of coffee grounds recycling, whereby the grounds will be turned into coffee logs for fires, known to burn more cleanly and efficiently than wood.

With the growing trend of veganism and vegetarianism as important pillars of the environmentalist movement, perhaps in the office we should be having more meetings, less meat.


Guest blog by Jacob Tucker

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