The pub giant said it had seen sales of its vegan main meals up another 14% year on year for the financial year so far, with growth propelled by the ‘Veganuary’ trend.
Greene King increased the number of dishes in its vegan range by 45% across its managed pub estate over the past year, joining other pub companies that have expanded their offer including JD Wetherspoon and BrewDog.
It made additions across its starters, mains and desserts menus, including a woodland mushroom pie to a Chinese veggie burger. Its fish-free fillets and chips was the best-seller in the vegan mains category, highlighting a growing trend for ‘seaganism’.
On the back of this success, the company said it had plans to grow its appeal to vegans and vegetarians in 2020.
A vegan pizza will be sold across more than 250 Hungry Horse pubs next month, which the group hopes will bring momentum to its sales in 2020.
Greene King chief commercial officer Phil Thomas 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.
“There was a long-standing 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.
“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.”
Almost three quarters of households (74%) said they had reduced the amount of red meat they consume and more than a third of households have introduced one or more vegetarian days per week, according to Leatherhead Food Research.