Opinion

Vegan sausage rolls: boost for healthy diets or more fast food?

Vegan sausage rolls: boost for healthy diets or more fast food?

The launch of vegan sausage rolls in the UK brought much celebration and some unwelcome abuse. Greggs, the largest bakery chain in the country, introduced their product with a clever Apple-style advert, giving another choice to those who’d prefer a purely vegan option for their lunch.

Veganism has been growing in popularity in the UK and Greggs is not the first to launch a “fast food” aimed at vegans. It’s not surprising companies are entering this market as it’s estimated to be worth nearly £600 million a year and growing. Lower ingredient and preparation costs compared to omnivore diets make for a potentially healthy margin.

In marketing we sometimes use “The Chasm” to explain the transition from a small, specialist market to the mass market. Before the chasm, people commit to the vision and will make compromises and accept limitations because of the benefits. In the mass market, people just want it to work. They want it to fit into their existing lifestyles with minimal fuss.

Greggs has probably jumped the chasm and brought vegan food into the mass market. Their sausage rolls appeal not just to the vegans, but also those who are thinking about their health and just want to swap their usual convenient lunch for something healthier. 

Yet this may be the start of a wider issue for society. Avoiding health issues associated with malnutrition from veganism requires careful planning and attention to diet. Labels may announce a product as “healthy”, yet as part of a wider diet and behaviour they may not be.

The problem is already widespread in our diets. We eat unhealthily, yet adding a salad to our fat ladened fast food somehow makes everything all right. We opt for convenience food that has “healthier” somewhere on the packaging, ignoring the amber warning signs hidden away on the back that’s never read. We drink “healthy” smoothies and fruit juices, oblivious to the high sugar content.

Not that we should condemn Greggs for bringing a scourge onto society. Providing more “less unhealthy” options can only be a good thing, particularly if it reaches those who think less about their health and more about convenience. 

Now, I’m off to buy a sausage roll.

Image credit: Greggs

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Vegan sausage rolls: boost for healthy diets or more fast food?

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