I’m afraid it’s time for a confession…

Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll

Well, I’d never, ever done this before … I had always assumed this type of thing was only usually purchased by long distance lorry drivers and others starved of the domestic comforts of home.I too, perhaps unconsciously, had picked a location far from home where I was sure nobody would recognise me…

Nervously, I pointed to one on the top shelf that had caught my eye … then I answered ‘no, just the plain brown wrapper will do’… I paid quickly and scurried from the shop, my purchase half hidden under my coat.

I was far from proud of myself but deep down, I knew it would be a strangely satisfying experience…  after all, I had never had a Gregg’s Steak Bake before.

Yes, I know that was very tongue in cheek, but it does sum up the general attitude towards Greggs, purveyors of pastry based products to the masses, as a very low-brow business and almost something to be ashamed of.

For that reason, you might be surprised that I’d be using Greggs as an example in the Lowedown … but we all should admit that the launch of their Vegan Sausage last week was quite the marketing triumph…

First of all, there’s the timing. The whole idea of ‘Veganuary’ must seem to some as an effort to suck the last drops of joy out of what can already be a pretty grim month – but to others, it is a chance to start the year by trying something new.

Whatever your opinion on the matter,  with record numbers of people signing up for Veganuary this year, it definitely seems to be catching on … and you have to applaud how Greggs have piggybacked their way onto it.

Of course, the press was alerted to it – with reports of sausage rolls delivered to various outlets in iPhone style boxes in a stunt shamelessly borrowed from Apple … who, let’s face it, know a thing or two about marketing themselves.

The social media uptake was breathtaking, especially after it got Piers Morgan hot under the collar, with even the most obscure of tweeters venturing an opinion on it. In fact, with the ‘release’ limited to just 900 stores I’m quite sure that, by the time you’re reading this, the very first fight for the last vegan sausage roll in a city centre branch of Greggs will probably already have been seen 100,000 times on YouTube.

So, yet again it turns out that a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from.

We might sometimes want our inspiration to be all big, shiny and corporate but you have to agree that when a retailer has managed to sell almost Biblical amounts of a pastry covered product in what is generally seen as the ‘healthiest’ month of the year I think we should all sit down and start taking notes…

All the best,

Tim Lowe

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

Tim Lowe