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04:53 - Source: CNN Business
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Last year, a vegan sausage roll brought Britain to a standstill. Now it’s time for the encore.

In what is quickly emerging as something of a New Year’s tradition, popular UK bakery chain Greggs has unveiled a vegan version of its much-loved steak bake.

And, in a perfectly proportional response, British consumers camped out in the cold to get a first taste.

Greggs’ new offering uses Quorn pieces in place of meat, and includes diced onions and a gravy filling wrapped in 96 layers of puff pastry. Quorn is a meat substitute that gets its protein content from a fermented fungus.

The drive to expand Gregg’s vegan range illustrates the growing clamor among the public for vegan foods, and efforts by big corporate chains to meet demand. A big part of the push is offering meat alternatives.

Barclays predicts the alternative meat sector could reach about $140 billion in sales over the next decade, capturing about 10% of the global meat industry, up from $14 billion currently.

Greggs' new vegan steak bake

Greggs’ original steak bake is one of the most popular products at the main street chain, which has built something of a cult following among hungry Brits.

For those who couldn’t wait, a Greggs store in Newcastle put on a preview on New Year’s Day.

More than 100 people braved the chilly temperatures to be among the first to try the vegan steak bake on Wednesday night, the UK’s PA Media news agency reports.

One customer tweeted that she was let into the store shortly after 10 p.m., before reviewing the bake as a thing of “beauty” and “grace.”

The snack was widely rolled out in 1,300 stores on Thursday and will be available in another 700 in two weeks’ time.

Why do Brits care so much about a vegan stake bake?

Greggs’ vegan sausage roll was one of the company’s best-selling new products of the last six years, the chain said.

The release of the vegan sausage roll last January helped boost the company’s sales in the first six months of 2019 by 15% over the previous year.

“Our Vegan Sausage Roll launch was a huge success and we’ve been working tirelessly to expand our vegan friendly offering,” Greggs’ chief executive Roger Whiteside said in a press release.

“The launch of our Vegan Steak Bake is another key milestone on our journey to become our customers’ favourite for food-on-the-go,” he added.

The new snack was revealed with a flashy promotional video, hinting that it might just be “the greatest vegan creation ever.”

The release coincides with the start of “Veganuary,” during which thousands of people take up a vegan diet in January.

The nonprofit group of the same name, which promotes veganism, claims that a quarter of a million Brits pledged to ditch meat, eggs and dairy in January last year.

CNN Business’ Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed reporting.