Greggs moves to healthier food with sourdough pasties

Says customers want more choice

The Bombay potato bake

Greggs - the UK's largest bakery chain - is attempting to change the calorie-laden image of its pies with the launch of new, healthier varieties this week.

The two new pies - chicken katsu curry and Bombay potato - are made with a sourdough shortcrust pastry with a crumb topping, rather than puff pastry, and come in at under 300 calories each.

By contrast, the company's katsu chicken curry lattice pasty, made with puff pastry, has around 445 calories.

Both pasties also contain up to two-thirds less fat and saturated fat.

And it means that they can be labelled with a green and amber rating under the government's traffic light nutrition system covering fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, rather than the warning red.

"Greggs is well-loved for its traditional pasties, but we recognise that our customers are increasingly looking for lower calorie and lower fat options and want to eat healthy choices," says Greggs group chief executive Roger Whiteside in a statement.

"All the research says Greggs is a brand which appeals right across the whole spectrum of consumers. We want them to come more frequently."

Recent research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that around three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women will be overweight or obese by 2030.

Last month, the government released its strategy on obesity - but was widely criticised for not going far enough. The plan doesn't include allowing councils to ban junk food advertisements near schools, for example, or making the traffic light labelling scheme compulsory.

"Providing healthy options is a good step, but making healthier food the standard promoted item and standard customer choice would be much better," Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children's Food Campaign tells the Guardian.

"Hungry customers' good intentions may still often crumble at the sight of cheaper, less healthy savoury snacks and the rows of doughnuts and other iced goodies tempting them."

However, it seems that Greggs customers do pick the healthier option reasonably often. The company's been adding healthier products to its range for a while, and recently announced that its Balanced Choice range of products under 400 calories, which include a range of salads, flatbreads and rolls, now account for 10% of sales.

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