Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has introduced a 99p filter coffee as part of a package of measures to tempt in recession-conscious consumers.

The 200-outlet chain had "looked at the price architecture" on its sandwich range, with prices reduced on some lines and new cheaper ones added, director of food and communications Simon Hargraves told British Baker. Value counter items such as fruit buns, jam tarts and clean-label pain au raisin, priced 85p to 99p, are to launch in March, sourced from suppliers including Fosters, Rich’s and Bridor.

Hargraves explained: "We have noticed that customers are being more careful with their money. People are coming in a bit less often and average spend is down a bit. We’ve taken the filter coffee below £1 as a way of trying to drive business in. If it gets people in the door, they will have a look round and, hopefully, pick up something else as well."

Breakfast trade was down in London, Hargraves said, but business remained strong at lunch as "only a hard-core of people are making their own sandwiches".

Pret had been planning for a downturn for the last nine months, he explained, and was in a good position to ride out a recession in 2009 "without any redundancies". It had strong cashflow and a conservative budget, he said.

Pret’s sandwich range now includes eight sandwiches priced between £1.50 and £2.49, including simply ham and mustard, made with 80g of ham, herb chicken and rocket and cheddar and pickle.

Pret had retained lines priced up to £3.50 in the 22-strong sandwich range, such as goat’s cheese baguette on artisan bread. It needed "a range of prices to suit everyone’s needs", Hargraves said.

All coffees, apart from the filter coffee, would remain at the same price as before, he added.