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Inside the Greggs store in Birmingham

Greggs has unveiled a host of new vegan products for Veganuary 2023, including a chicken-free Cajun roll.

The NPD (see more details below) comes as Greggs published a trading update which showed total sales had soared by 23% to £1,513m in 2022. Like-for-like sales in company-managed shops were 17.8% higher than in 2021.

Despite the impact of adverse weather and strikes at the end of 2022, fourth quarter like-for-like sales in company-managed shops grew by 18.2%. This, the firm said, reflected a favourable trading pattern leading into the Christmas period and softer trading conditions in the comparable quarter of 2021 due to disruption caused by the Omicron variant.

The Greggs estate now comprises 2,328 shops, 441 of which are operated by franchised partners. During 2022 the business opened 186 new shops (70 of which were franchised) and closed 39.

Notably, 500 sites are now open until 8pm as Greggs looks to build on its fastest growing daypart of the early evening.

The Greggs estate is set to grow further in 2023 as it expects to open around 150 net new stores.

Plant-based growth

Seasonal lines were in ‘strong demand’ in the fourth quarter with the firm’s Festive Bake, vegan-friendly alternative, mince pies and hot drinks performing well.

Plant-based foods are contributing more significantly to the Greggs range over time, it added, with the Vegan Festive Baguette ‘testament to this trend’.

Greggs vegan products including a ring doughnut, sausage roll and festive bake

Another example is the quartet of new vegan-friendly products it has rolled out for Veganuary 2023. Alongside the Vegan Chicken-Free Cajun Roll, available from 7 January, the business has added a Vegan Southern Fried Chicken-Free Baguette and Vegan Chicken-Free Goujons. The Warm Winter Vegetable Soup is also returning to menus.

They will sit alongside the existing vegan-friendly range which includes the Vegan Sausage Roll and Glazed Ring Doughnut.

Challenging conditions

Greggs chief executive Roisin Currie said she was proud of the progress that Greggs had made in 2022 during “challenging conditions”.

“Our teams did a magnificent job serving customers and managing the growing demand for Greggs products as we expand our shop estate and offer greater availability through digital channels and longer trading hours, whilst continuing to extend our menu to offer more choice,” she said.

Currie added that the business enters 2023 in a “strong financial position” that will enable it to invest in shops and supply chain capacity.

“While market conditions in 2023 will remain challenging, our value-for-money offer of freshly-prepared food and drink is highly relevant as consumers look to manage their budgets without compromising on quality and taste,” she said.