This week, popular international chain Pret a Manger announced that it would install dedicated refrigerators (“veggie fridges”) for its vegetarian and vegan grab-and-go options across the UK for one month. In July of 2015, the company conducted a poll of 10,000 people to ascertain the interest of the public in more vegetarian and vegan options. While Pret found that a majority of responders (52 percent) wanted a veggie fridge in every store, the company decided to open an all-vegetarian location first (an item 44 percent of responders desired) as a challenge for chefs to develop a range of meat-free options. After opening a second UK location of the all-vegetarian Pret in the Shoreditch neighborhood in April, CEO Clive Schlee decided to give customers the veggie fridges they initially voted for. “Our chefs have expanded Pret’s veggie and vegan offering to such an extent that we can now honor the outcome of the original vote,” Schlee stated in a blog post. In addition to the veggie fridges, Pret will offer expanded monthly vegetarian and vegan chef’s specials, and run a campaign to entice meat-eaters to sample the new menu items. “Over half of the customers in our Veggie Pret shops are meat-eaters,” Schlee said, “and new [products] such as our Veggie Boxes—packed with ingredients like turmeric cauliflower and sweet potato falafels–are out-selling meaty options.” Schlee plans to use the veggie fridges as a metric to determine where the next all-vegetarian Pret location will open, and promised to keep them in operation all summer if customer feedback and sales demonstrate sufficient demand.
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