Kate Vlietstra
Kate is a Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in analysing the dairy sector, with previous experience in FMCG sales and marketing roles.

UK bakery chain Greggs has just launched a new vegan steak bake to align with Veganuary, a global movement encouraging people to go vegan in January. This follows the chain’s successful vegan sausage roll launch in January 2019, which has been key to driving profits and is now one of Greggs’ top five bestsellers. Both products use Quorn mycoprotein as a replacement for the meat component.

Tapping into emerging trends to target consumers

Mintel research shows over half of UK consumers have either reduced their intake of red meat and poultry or cut these foods out altogether in 2019, a growth from the two-fifths who said the same in 2018. The Greggs vegan range taps into this trend and also offers a convenient food-to-go proposition for busy consumers. Evolving the Greggs range is important to maintain its appeal with younger consumers who are more likely to reduce their intake of meat and dairy products than older consumers. Consumer reasons for participating in Veganuary are dominated by health and animal welfare. Concerns over the environment, conversely, were cited by far fewer people as a reason for undertaking Veganuary.

New vegan steak bake made with Quorn mycoprotein pieces

Make it easy for consumers to understand the product

The name of the bake has been the subject of much discussion on social media. Some consumers feel it shouldn’t be called ‘steak bake’ because it doesn’t contain any meat. However, a new product with an easy-to-assimilate name lends itself to speedy decision making at the point of purchase – particularly important in a food-to-go chain such as Greggs. It will also likely appeal to the two thirds of UK consumers who believe that meat substitutes should resemble meat products as closely as possible. Including the bespoke Quorn mycoprotein on the shelf label points towards a consumer acceptance of so-called cell-based meats, in line with Mintel 2030 Trend High-tech Harvests.

Taste test – how does it compare to the vegan sausage roll?
I tried out the vegan steak bake and I thought it offered a hearty, comforting filling that is full of flavour. I certainly think it could compete with the vegan sausage roll, particularly with the steak bake’s additions of diced onions in a rich gravy for a greater depth of flavour. It’s not something I would have tried before as I’m not usually a fan of Quorn, but I was pleasantly surprised and I’ll definitely try it again!