Results of the Great Vegetarian Debate

Feedback and our response

Blog by Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret A Manger

14th August 2015

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about the growing level of sales of vegetarian products within Pret and I invited my readers to vote on how Pret should respond. There were almost ten thousand responses and, as seems typical of recent referendums, the result was clear but close: 52% voted in favour of a special vegetarian fridge, versus 44% in favour of an exclusively vegetarian Pret and just 4% for the status quo.


Open a Veggie Pret: 44%, A veggie fridge in every shop: 52%, Pret is fine as it is: 4%

People were stimulated by the idea and the fact that a large high street retailer should put it out there. Their responses were full of good sense and a touching affection for Pret. Several themes came through clearly. Voters against a single vegetarian shop argued that it wouldn’t help the vast majority of our customers. They warned us that it might not make commercial sense. Many people commented that isolating vegetarians did not feel right. There was a strong call to arms from vegans, a movement that is clearly growing in popularity.

Some of your tweets on the subject:

Pret learned a lot.

We learned that our labelling could be clearer, that our shops sometimes run out of vegetarian products and that we need to bring back old favourites. We got a number of very useful recipe suggestions, several of them skilfully converting a vegetarian product to a vegan product with a minor tweak.

I have been talking to our food and marketing teams about what to do and here’s our response:

•   We will increase the number of vegetarian and vegan products in our shops
•   We will improve labelling to call out vegetarian and vegan dishes more clearly
•   We will run a “call to arms” marketing campaign for veggie food next year
•   We will test a vegetarian fridge in one of our UK shops
•   We will explore converting an existing Pret into a vegetarian Pret for a few weeks next Summer in the UK to test the water

Thank you to the thousands of people who voted and sent us their views.

Consulting our customers via social media is a new experience for us and I have found it very positive (so far!)

The Pret Chefs will be extremely busy devising exciting new veggie and vegan recipes. If you’ve got any great ideas for our menu, we’d love to know.

Tweet me your feedback @Cliveschlee



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Clive Schlee, Pret CEO

Clive joined Pret as CEO in 2003.

He has over 25 years’ experience in the retail food business with Pret, Itsu and Jardine Matheson, the Hong Kong-based multi-national.

Say hello to @Cliveschlee

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Follow Clive for Pret company news (and views on the importance of good grammar).

The Great Vegetarian Debate

29 July 2015

How can Pret create more delicious vegetarian food? Should we open a vegetarian shop or stay as we are?

Read more >