In the past four years Greggs has made gradual changes to appeal to health-conscious shoppers, as well as those looking for a treat.

When chief executive Roger Whiteside joined the company in 2013, the business was losing market share in take-home bakery and in the growing food on the go market. Some vital changes were needed to turn Greggs around.

Speaking at the International Food & Drink Event in London this week, he explained how the business refreshed its range to bring shoppers in more frequently by helping them make healthier choices.

  1. Improve the quality of the current range. “We removed what we could from the ingredients without impacting the quality. People were stopping coming to Greggs when they started worrying about their weight and wellness.”
  2. Offer choice in the areas that you are known for. “People knew us for sandwiches and drinks so it made sense to start there and offer balanced choices in those areas first.”
  3. Expand in new areas. “Once we built up trust with these lines, we brought in new categories like salads, yoghurts and porridge. We used the same ingredients as the sandwiches, we were just leaving the bread off.”
  4. Give shoppers nutritional information. Greggs offers its shoppers traffic light nutritional guidance on all its products. “You can imagine the angst that went through the business when we decided to declare all the calories, but it helps shoppers make informed choices.”
  5. Gain a reputation. Greggs engages with the press when it achieves positive results with its healthy eating range and is active on social media.
  6. Appeal to children. The business gives free meals to 400 breakfast clubs. “You’d be flabbergasted how many children turn up to school without having breakfast. It’s shaming.”
  7. Offer products that meet a similar need. Sugar is currently the number one enemy, so we offer alternatives like fresh fruit that offer the sweet hit but isn’t full sugar.”
  8. Keep it simple. “We win awards, not because what we do is innovative in the sense that we’re creating quail-egg-stuffed-quinoa salads. We do basic things and have a positive effect.”