Pret A Manger is converting last few all-veggie outlets

Pret A Manger is converting last few all-veggie outlets
Veggie Pret LondonGetty Images

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger is abandoning the idea of vegetarian-only outlets, saying people are buying veggie options at all its branches.

The final three Veggie Pret stores, in London and Manchester, will switch to normal Prets by the end of this month.

The specialist outlets, first launched eight years ago, were no longer needed, the company said.

“Every Pret is a Veggie Pret shop,” said Katherine Bagshawe, UK food and coffee director at Pret A Manger.

One in every three main meals sold was now vegetarian or vegan, she said.

The veggie stores had acted as an “innovation hub” Pret added, launching new products including most recently a “VLT” sandwich which replaces the bacon in a traditional BLT with mushroom “rashers” and a Thai-inspired sticky mushroom Banh Mi baguette and meatless meatballs.

There has been a huge rise in interest in vegan and vegetarian food in recent years, prompted by both health considerations and concerns over the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from meat and dairy production.

However, producers of meat-substitutes have run into difficulties over the last year as they fought for space in a crowded market and there are other signs that the boom in specialist vegan products could be losing steam. A vegan restaurant, in Macclesfield, said earlier this month it would start selling meat products saying it was “very difficult to stay in business” selling only vegan food.

Pret first launched its veggie outlets in 2016, helping to boost its image as a vegetarian-friendly brand. Most of the 10 veggie shops were in London, with some in Oxford and Manchester.

But the stores’ distinct green frontages began to disappear just six years later, as Pret started to wind down its Veggie-only experiment in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Pret’s post-Covid strategy has been to focus on regional towns and cities outside of London, including recent openings in Bishop’s Stortford, Colchester and Worthing.

The last remaining Veggie Prets due to be converted are Broadwich Street and Great Eastern Street in London and its Deansgate store in Manchester.

Pret a manger first opened in 1986, serving sandwiches and other on-the-go lunch products including soups and salads and now has more than 400 UK outlets.

It is owned by JAB holding a German conglomerate which bought it saying it wanted to double the chain’s size within five years. It opened 41 new outlets in the UK last year.

Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman