Lightbox Loves: When is a sausage not a sausage?

…when it’s a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll. Launched last week across their 950 UK outlets, Gregg’s took the #Veganuary trend to a new peak with their first ever vegan friendly sausage roll.

The fast food giant introduced the world to their new product in a style similar to Apple’s iPhone launches, sending specially boxed rolls to the most influential bods they could find to record their “unboxing” reactions. The polarizing Piers Morgan obviously got in on the debate, engaging in Twitter banter with @Greggs and provoking further support for the baker purely through his own Marmite personality.

A smart stunt? Or a longer term strategy for Greggs? We think a bit of both.

As the trend towards lower meat lifestyles accelerates, even the protein-heavy Body Coach Joe Wicks has released a Veggie cookbook as his 2019 hit. And, we are now seeing mainstream food brands finally pick up the pace by including more meat free  products in their repertoire.

Iceland this month became the first UK supermarket to stock the “No Bull burger”, a meat-substitute popular in the US, as, like Gregg’s, they’re also looking to take a chunk of the growing meat alternative market. A market estimated to be worth $5.8bn by 2020 (The Grocer).

It is for Gregg’s, of course, not simply about the vegans. A vegan sausage roll shows a progressive side to a very traditional bakery brand, the home of steak bakes and stodgy carbohydrates. It opens up a world of flexitarians, pescatarians, non-factory farming enthusiasts, allergy sufferers, non-pork eaters and more.

It also gives meat eaters another option. 56% of meat eaters have eaten meat free alternatives in the past 6 months and 1 in 3 claim to have already reduced their intake overall, as cutting back consumption becomes fashionable. (Mintel, 2018)

Where other quick service restaurants such as TGI Fridays have taken a “limited time offer” approach to their new plant-based offerings, we think both Gregg’s and Iceland are making smart steps to be part of the new-normal when it comes to diet.