THE novelty of veganism is going stale — prompting sandwich chain Pret A Manger to shut almost all its meat-free branches.
But those plans were turned upside down as the pandemia and lockdowns destroyed the busy lunchtime trade near office blocks.
Sales slipped by three-quarters during Covid restrictions and major cities and airports were the slowest to bounce back once they were lifted.
Bosses are now either shutting the Veggie branches or converting them into standard Prets, where products such as crayfish sarnies and chicken caesar baguettes are bestsellers.
Only two Veggie Prets will remain, both in the capital.
Pret said: “More of our customers are choosing veggie options but may not see themselves as full-time vegetarians, so all of our shops will continue to offer a majority meat-free and vegan menu.
“Our remaining Veggie Prets will continue to develop new vegan and vegetarian options to be rolled out to our classic Prets.”
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But Mintel food and drink analyst Alice Pilkington said: “The impressive growth enjoyed by meat substitutes has faltered in 2022, as the Covid boost has been lost and the income squeeze has made the higher price of these products more of a barrier.”