Food review: Greggs vegan sausage roll

Having been outraged at Brexit, foreign wars and the collapse of public services last year, it was good to get my teeth into a new controversial topic for 2019 - the Greggs vegan sausage roll.

So Greggs, the UK's favourite baked food on the go food outlet (excluding cake shops, obvs), have launched a vegan sausage roll. That's launched as in it's available in (some of) their shops, not that they've teamed up with Elon Musk on some hair-brained space programme.

Treason and laughter

This treasonous act was instantly attacked on Twitter by puritan lovers of the traditional sausage roll. "A sausage", the righteously cried, " is a cylindrical meat product usually made from ground meat, often pork, beef, or veal, along with salt, spices and other flavourings, and breadcrumbs". Thus proving their ability to:

  • Copy and paste from Wikipedia.
  • Selectively edit from Wikipedia - whose entry ends "and breadcrumbs, encased by a skin."
  • Not read a whole article that also says, "Vegetarian and vegan sausages are also available in some countries".

Other deriders went down the comedy route, hilariously pointing out that it wasn't April Fool's Day until April. How @GreggsOfficial laughed. And laughed. I've not heard a laugh like that since I worked in retail and checked a £20 note with a UV pen and the customer says, and please stop my sides splitting with laughter here, "It should be OK - I printed it this morning."

Faced with such an onslaught from MEAT EATERS (basically the same as VEGANS), Greggs had an inspired marketing moment. They called in Piers Morgan to slate the whole idea, thus forcing anyone who was against the vegan sausage roll concept to have to side with the second most hated person on Twitter. You have to admire their genius.

In for a penny, in for a pound

I decided to go for it. I would try one. I wrapped up warm and headed into town, Greggwards bound. As I approached the store, there was the predictable crowd of demonstrators who had taken their outrage from Twitter onto the streets. I pushed through the protestors in the ways that only a true British person can - muttering "sorry" every time someone bumped into me. I finally got to the counter and place my order, "A vegan sausage roll to take out please."

The rather tall, and suspiciously friendly man at the counter, got some tongs and placed a vegan sausage roll in a Greggs bag. He placed it on the counter, and looked me square in the eye. "Would you like anything else?", he asked.

"No thanks, that's it." I said as I avoided his gaze, fearful of what would come next.

Still holding my eye he said, "That'll be a pound please."

I looked right. I looked left. I may even have quickly glanced over my shoulder. My hand was slowly moving towards my pocket, in which I knew I had a shiny new one pound coin. But I was suspicious. I put my fears to one side, and looked him squarely in the eye. "You mean I can just have a vegan sausage roll?"

He raised an eyebrow. "If you want", he said. "or a drink, or bag of crisps?"

"Oh", I said. "It's just that from the outrage of you forcing vegan sausage rolls down the throats of non-vegans, I assumed ..."

"Ah", he said. "So you're on Twitter then."

Results are in

Having successfully navigated the Greggs counter, and smuggled my vegan sausage roll passed the hoards of baying protesters outside, I finally got a chance to take a bite of my baked delicacy. And what a delight. It hit the Goldilocks zone of being neither too hot nor too cold, just right. The pastry was neither chewy or totally crumbling away - again, just right. Taste-wise, it hit the spot. A wonderful balance of umami and saltiness. I think I detected a touch of black pepper and a subtle undertone of primrose, with maybe a touch of banana. Ideally served with brown sauce.

So how does the Greggs vegan sausage roll compare to the rest on the market? I'm more familiar with two others than I'd care to admit:

Linda McCartney: A good sausage roll. Shorter, though a larger girth. Come in packs of six, so better value (cheaper) than Greggs. Linda's have flakier pastry and a similar taste. A key downside of Linda's is that they're frozen, so if you're after a quick snack be prepared to break your teeth.

Holland & Barrett: Bless them, they try. Similar length and girth. Though served refrigerated so the pastry is somewhat chewy, and the inside is too cold to taste. Also pretty expensive (as is everything in H&B).


If you want to have an instant sup on a sausage that's just right, Greggs are now the clear market leader. Just the right length and girth to get your lips around, with a taste that will pleasantly linger.


Photo credit: Greggs.

This post was in no way sponsored by Greggs. I have no affiliation with them. However, if they want to give me a year's supply of vegan sausage rolls ...