Greggs chief converted to veganism convinced of health benefits

Bakery chain develops additional vegan versions of its products after success of meatless sausage roll

The chief executive of bakery chain Greggs – which sells thousands of meat pasties every week – is trying veganism after seeing a documentary about the health benefits.


“If you’d asked me three weeks ago which roll I preferred I would have said the original sausage roll, but I’m now attempting to live on a vegan diet,” said Roger Whiteside.

Whiteside, 61, stopped eating meat and dairy three weeks ago, and told of how Greggs – which has bakeries and cafes across the UK – was working to develop vegan versions of some of its other products after the success of its meatless sausage roll.


“I was encouraged to watch a film on Netflix called The Game Changers. I thought, ‘this is interesting’,” he said.

The Game Changers charts the growing popularity of plant-based diets among current and former elite athletes such as Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger due to the health benefits and concerns over deforestation.

“Obviously there are arguments based around animal welfare and the environment, but this was all about the health benefits and I thought I should give it a go,” said Whiteside.

Speaking after receiving this year’s North East Business Executive of the Year award on Friday, he said: “Avoiding meat is easy. The problem is avoiding dairy, avoiding milk and cheese is almost impossible. It would be OK if I had time to cook, but I don’t, so I have to have things that are quick and easy.”

“We’ve got the award-winning vegan wrap which I have quite frequently and the vegan sausage roll which I’ll have about once a week, and now we have the sweet choice with the vegan sweet mince pie,” he said.

More than half a million adults in the UK are believed to be vegan, and last year more vegan products were launched than in any other country after demand for meat-free food grew by almost 1,000%.

Plant-focused diets have been touted by scientists as having the capacity to transform the earth’s imperilled future – potentially preventing millions of deaths a year and containing the climate crisis.

Source: The Guardian

Author: Mattha Busby

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