AS figures show veganism and vegetarianism are on the rise, Greggs is planning to follow-up the release of its own brand sausage roll with vegan versions of all of its best-sellers.

So the vegan sausage roll was a hit?
It proved so popular, Greggs had to increase production to meet demand.
And in March - two months after the firm released the product to much fanfare - it announced annual sales of £1 billion for the first time, saying the snack helped sales surge by 9.5%.

What’s it made of?
Designed to mirror some of the sausage roll’s classic features, it features Greggs’ own bespoke Quorn filling, encased in “96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry”.
Significantly, it launched during “Veganuary”, when many people go vegan for the month of January.

It sparked a bit of a fuss?
It met with a mixed response initially. Good Morning Britain host, Piers Morgan, made it a national talking point by declaring "It stinks!" when he was offered one live on air. He also called Greggs “PC-ravaged clowns” in a tweet.
Greggs responded by simply tweeting James Bond-style: "Oh hello Piers, we've been expecting you.”

How many vegans are there in the UK anyway?
In recent years, there has been a sizeable uptake of veganism, estimated to have jumped from around 150,000 in 2014 to around 600,000 last year. Figures also show that by 2025, vegetarians look set to make up a quarter of the population.

And how many Greggs are there?
The firm opened its 2000th UK store in Newcastle on Saturday.

The bakery it has its roots in the north of England?
In 1939, founder John Gregg began touring his Tyneside homeland on his bike, selling eggs and yeast so locals could do their own baking. By 1951, he had opened his own shop with a bakery at the back, allowing him to make and sell fresh bread and cakes.

And they are expanding the vegan line?
Its “innovation team” is working on vegan versions of all its top-selling products, but such developments do take time.
Chief executive officer, Roger Whiteside, said: “Obviously people want a vegan option. If we can succeed in doing that and produce something that tastes just as good as the meat version, then that will sell very successfully. That's what's been shown with the vegan sausage roll.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about business?
The worldwide vegan and vegetarian market is estimated to be worth more than $50 billion, according to Euromonitor, while sales of vegan alternatives to meat reached $19.5 billion in 2019, so supermarkets, manufacturers and restaurants are naturally endeavouring to capitalise.

And what of the future?
Industry figures are betting on cultured meat - “lab grown” meat, produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, rather from slaughtered animals. Currently in its infancy, it could be the next big thing.