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Greene King reveals rise in demand for vegan food

With more than 350,000 people expected to make a Veganuary pledge by the end of the month, Greene King, the UK’s leading managed pub company and brewer, has revealed the growing demand for plant-based dishes and its plans for category expansion.

At the close of the last financial year, Greene King reported total sales of vegan dishes were up 265% year-on-year. Tracking the year to date, the pub company has seen sales of vegan main dishes up another 14% year-on-year, as more Brits pledge to the growing trend of Veganuary.

Across Greene King’s managed estate – which includes Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer, Farmhouse Inns and its Locals pubs – the company increased the number of dishes in its vegan range by 45% over the last year, with brands offering vegan starters, mains and desserts to help accommodate customers choosing plant-based dishes. Dishes range from Woodland Mushroom Pie to a Chinese Veggie Burger.

With a further volume growth of plant-based dishes, including a vegan pizza due to launch in more than 250 Hungry Horse pubs next month, the company is expecting another sales jump across the category in 2020.

Phil Thomas, chief commercial officer at Greene King, said, “It’s no secret that across the sector we’re seeing an increase in demand for vegan dishes as more and more customers choose plant-based meals, but I think what is surprising is the rate of growth.

“I think there was a longstanding assumption that vegan food was generally unexciting, but because of the creativity and passion we’re putting into developing our plant-based dishes, we’re increasingly seeing traditional meat-eaters actually choosing a vegan option when dining out on the strength of the dish itself.

'Fish-Free Fillets and Chips is the top seller in the vegan mains category, which offers great-tasting traditional pub food that we know our customers love whilst suiting their lifestyle choice.'

Thomas concluded, “There’s certainly the demand there for vegan food and as we further expand our menu to include new, exciting and innovative dishes, it would be safe to expect further category growth throughout Veganuary and beyond.”