Belfast Telegraph

Sausage rolls or sushi? Greggs plans to boost its healthy eating range

Greggs is planning to ramp up its healthy eating options as demand surges for its salads and yoghurts.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside told the Press Association that Britain's biggest baker is considering branching out even further from its traditional staples of sausage rolls and doughnuts into Mexican food, and potentially even sushi.

He said: "We will always be a bakery and sausage rolls will always be part of that, but we're trying to leverage that with demand for healthier options.

"We're looking at a number of things including a gluten free range and more vegetarian ideas. We're also looking seriously at Mexican food, it's struggled in the UK for years but is gaining a foothold, and it's not impossible that we'll see sushi on the menu one day."

As part of its evolution, Greggs now sells products such as teriyaki chicken noodle and falafel with houmous, which have proved a hit with customers.

Its healthy food range now accounts for 10% of sales and is seeing double digit growth, helping it notch up a 25% rise in profits to £73 million last year.

"We accept that the trend is moving away from over indulging in things like doughnuts and sausage rolls. We have our base, our identity if you like, but the key is to offer a variety of food that everyone can afford," Mr Whiteside added.

However, talk about Brexit is not on the chief executive's menu.

"All we know is that, if the economy suffers, we will suffer. Whatever the result, we don't know if it will suffer, but we're prepared to react if it does. Will we have to cut costs if the economy shrinks? Yes, just as we had to do after the financial crisis."

Mr Whiteside added that the firm is looking to open up to 70 new stores, creating over 1,000 new jobs in the process.

He said: "We've been on a positive growth trajectory since the end of 2013 and we want to continue that."

Greggs, which has its headquarters in Newcastle, already has 1,720 shops and will target travel locations and office parks for new premises.