Sales at Greggs soared last year and the baker has upgraded its profit forecast for 2019, a year that began with an online furore over the launch of its vegan sausage roll.
Greggs said profits will be least £88m in 2019, slightly higher than previously predicted. Sales jumped 7.2 per cent in the 52 weeks to 29 December while like-for-like sales were up 2.9 per cent.
The results come after Greggs scored a big hit with the release of its vegan sausage roll last week.
Piers Morgan branded the company “PC-ravaged clowns” to his millions of Twitter followers, prompting a flurry of responses from supporters and detractors alike.
That resulted in a PR victory for Greggs which enjoyed a huge amount of media coverage of the ensuing debate over veganism and perceived political correctness.
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Greggs launched the new pastry snack to coincide with “Veganuary”, the increasingly popular event during which people commit to living a vegan lifestyle for the first month of the year.
Last year an online petition started by animal protection charity Peta, calling for a vegan Greggs sausage roll was signed by more than 20,000 people.
Across the UK, the demand for vegan food is rising with more and more brands launching products to cater for plant-based diets.
Greggs has delivered strong growth in recent years as it continues a successful transformation from a more traditional bakery into a food-to-go retailer with a broader offering.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said that the latest strong performance reflected Greggs' new focus.
“In the year ahead, we will continue to innovate with products designed to reflect changing consumer tastes, and by opening in new locations that make Greggs even more accessible to customers,” he said.