With the return of Veganuary (vegan + January for those of you wondering), the number of new vegan products hitting the stores has risen substantially. Greggs, the ubiquitous Newcastle-based bakery chain, launched their vegan sausage roll today. Similar to their classic sausage roll, the vegan alternative features a quorn centre wrapped in 96 layers of butter-free puff pastry, and it has already caused controversy.
On Twitter, Greggs social media team have rebuked Piers Morgan’s comment calling the chain “PC-ravaged clowns”, with a suitably dry response of, “Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you.” And their ad for the vegan sausage roll has already reached 40,000 likes on Twitter. Other comments include “Why? It’s a sausage roll! When will they make carrots looks like sausages for us meat eaters. Never!”, to which Greggs replied appropriately: “Is that something you’d like Grant? We can put a word in.”
The vegan sausage roll follows a petition led by PETA in 2018, who wanted Greggs to make a vegan version of their traditional sausage roll. The petition was signed by over 20,000 people.
We asked the vegetarians, vegans and meat reducers in our consumer community if they would buy the Greggs vegan sausage roll, or an unbranded vegan sausage roll. We ran a split test to avoid bias. Here are the results:
The results show that 4% more people are inclined to buy from Greggs, so the brand name does help. We used segmentation to see what our Greggs shoppers would do (the green bars). Unsurprisingly people who are Greggs shoppers are even more likely to buy the roll, but show a similar 4% split between the branded and unbranded versions.
Ultimately, retailers and chains are catering to people’s decision to switch to a more plant-based diet. The controversy towards Greggs’ vegan sausage serves only to boost brand image. And the most important question: what does it taste like? We sampled some in the office, and while Michael from Marketing offered a non committal “tastes like a sausage roll,” Laura (Operations) said “That. Is. Delicious.” Next step: get Piers Morgan to try one.