Ken McMeikan on…

Ken McMeikan on the future of the high street, obesity and the typical Greggs customer.

…The UK’s obesity crisis

As a baker, we have not only responsibility, but a great opportunity to help. In each of our food categories we have a dedicated team working on how we can remove some of the salt and fat content without losing the great taste.

We also do a lot to promote healthy lifestyles and run breakfast clubs for children to get a healthy, nutritious breakfast. We want to find a way of putting calorie information on shelf-edge labels so people can make a decision at the point of purchase.

…Saving the high street

With the number of shops that are closing, some high streets are less of a destination for customers. But people should not be too pessimistic about the future because, for example, where Woolworths has gone, companies like Poundland have come in.

Greggs, Costa and Subway are expanding to take up some of that spare capacity, but they won’t take it all.

Retailers will have to think about why customers should come to their shops. The service in shops has to be so good that it will encourage people to browse and buy in-store.

Parking is another challenge [in terms of accessibility and cost]. That is a major problem that high street retailers are going to have to work with councils to address. You can have a fantastic retail business but if it is difficult to get there then customers won’t come.

…A typical Greggs customer

There isn’t one. We have an almost even split between men and women, every age range, profession and everyone from barristers to builders. Depending on where the shop is, the range will vary. We try to cater for all age ranges and different needs of customers.

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