First shop that caters exclusively to vegans and vegetarians opens in Exmouth Market
Exmouth Market embraces the vegetarian revolution, with Pret A Manger launching the first exclusively veggie shop in Exmouth Market. Miriam Gradel reports…
Dozens of hungry Londoners stood in line in Exmouth Market leading up to the teaser opening of Pret A Manger’s newest Veggie shop last week. Following an increase in the sales of the company’s vegetarian options, the sandwich shop chain decided to do a poll, which gathered more than 10.000 responses, with 44% of the participants suggesting to open a Veggie Pret.
Its overwhelming success was unexpected, according to Alice Clarke from Pret A Manger’s marketing team. “We expected our sales to drop when we opened the Veggie Pret,” says Alice. “But surprisingly they increased about 70%.”
Following the success of the brand’s vegetarian and vegan only pop-up store in Soho last July, Pret A Manger decided to further develop their vegetarian and vegan selection. The second Veggie Pret opened in April of this year in Shoreditch, with this month’s opening located right in the middle of Islington’s foodies paradise.
The day before the official opening, Pret invited their customers for a free lunch at the new site. From 12:00 to 14:00, doors opened to scores of people waiting to have the first glance at the inside of the Veggie Pret. Whilst waiting for their turn to get in, customers were given free samples of Veggie Pret’s vegan chocolate and caramel brownies. Once inside, people could choose freely from the shop’s extensive range of hot and cold dishes.
The menu also offered new dishes, like sweet potato, coconut and cashew flatbread, as well as old favourites. One of the most popular amongst customers was the vegan Mac’n’Greens, with tubetti rigati pasta, cauliflower and spinach, covered in vegan béchamel and crunchy bread crumbs. “You have no idea how much our chef’s team struggled to make that recipe,” Alice told St John Street News on the opening day. “You have to replace butter, cheese and eggs, but we made it work.”
Veggie Pret joins a growing number of vegetarian and vegan friendly places in Islington, including award winning vegetarian restaurant The Gate on Upper St John Street. Yet, although Veggie Pret joins an extensive range of international food options in Exmouth Market, it will be the first shop catering exclusively to vegetarians and vegans.
“What has been really interesting to see,” says Alice, “is how popular vegetarian and vegan options have been with all of our customers.” According to Pret, the positive responses towards their veggie options has come from both vegans and non-vegans alike.