Poll reveals punters back Pret shop idea

Horizons predicts foodservice trends for 2016

A poll of more than 10,000 people by Pret A Manger has revealed that an overwhelming majority back its plans to introduce a more dedicated vegetarian offering.

Just 4% of those surveyed agreed that Pret was fine as it is, but the remaining 96% of people said that it should take steps to provide a more focused approach to selling vegetarian food.

52% called for a fridge in every outlet, while 44% said that it should open a vegetarian-only outlet.

Pret carried out the poll to gauge customer opinion after revealing recently that it has held internal discussions about opening a shop that only sells vegetarian food.

CEO Clive Schlee said recently that the idea was “still in its infancy”, admitting: “There are some within Pret who believe we should be more cautious and simply put in a dedicated fridge full of vegetarian food. Other colleagues are excited by the symbol and the challenge.”

Whether that caution will now be lifted following the results of the poll remains to be seen, but there is certainly evidence that Pret needs to explore the prospect of a vegetarian-only shop seriously.

“I regularly look at Pret’s sales mix to see which food categories are growing and which are shrinking,” says Schlee. “Recently, there has been a distinct shift towards vegetarian. The top-selling SuperBowl in our latest salad launch was Beets, Squash & Feta, beating chicken, salmon and crayfish alternatives. This would have been unheard of five years ago.”

Schlee said that if Pret does open a vegetarian shop it would offer the usual Pret menu but replace sandwiches and salads containing meat and fish with a range of vegetarian items.

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