Earlier this week I desperately tried to eavesdrop as three workmen discussed Greggs’ latest creation: the vegan sausage roll. I never did find out what they thought but I did, unfortunately, see Piers Morgan’s faux vomit when he sampled the roll on Good Morning Britain.
Whether knowingly or not, Morgan did more for the brand in those few minutes than many an ad could have. His outrage, going hand in hand with his social profile, positioned Greggs within our collective cultural consciousness. Indeed, Morgan’s original Tweet, “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns” opened up a space for Greggs to respond. And respond they did as they announced, “Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you”.
Five years ago, the charity Veganuary was founded to inspire more people to try veganism both in the first month of the year and as a lifestyle choice. But it’s only in the last few years that it has crept more into wider public consciousness and subsequently onto brand’s agendas. This year, the charity has seen people signing up in record numbers, at one point every 3.5 seconds. Even Gordon Ramsey’s giving it a go.
Waitrose & Partners' annual Food and Drink Report for 2018 revealed that 1/3 UK consumers have deliberately reduced the amount of meat they eat, or have removed it entirely, while 1 in 8 Britons are veggie or vegan. A further 21% would describe themselves as flexitarian, a diet that is plant-based with the odd bit of meat thrown in.
A BBC news article recently revealed that the number one resolution we should all be making for 2019 is to eat less meat, while the Green Party wants to impose a tax on meat to lessen the impact on the environment.
Once labelled as a choice solely for either the affluent or the hippie, veganism wasn’t something that most of the general public would have really considered. But this is no longer the case. The market is estimated to be worth more than £572 million in the U.K, according to the market research company, Mintel and this is something brands cannot ignore.