Pret A Manger, the high street sandwich chain, is considering opening an all-vegetarian shop.
The chain has opened a poll asking consumers what they think of the idea, which was raised following changes to the sales mix.
Clive Schlee, chief executive, said in a blog: “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.”
In the blog, Schlee lays out reasons to reduce meat consumption from animal welfare to global warming. He also pointed to outlets such as ABC Kitchen in New York and Grain Store in London’s King’s Cross as examples of menus with a big emphasis on vegetables.
The blog ponders how Pret can help people enjoy more vegetarian food without “being preachy” or alienating customers – the best-selling sandwich is currently the Chicken Caesar and Bacon baguette.
One idea, in its infancy, is to open a vegetarian Pret A Manger with the usual Pret menu featuring replacements for the meat-containing dishes.
Schlee said: “The danger of doing this is that we take choice away and upset loyal customers and, of course, we love our current range. The reason to do it is to act as a beacon for more innovation at Pret for the future, which offers greater choice. It would encourage Pret to create tastier vegetarian food and tempt customers who are inclined to try new alternatives.”
Another option is to put dedicated vegetarian fridges into shops.
So far, 44% of voters support the opening of an all-vegetarian Pret, 51% think a vegetarian food-filled fridge in every shop would work and 5% think Pret is fine as it is.