THE ADAGE that an army marches on its stomach was given new meaning by yesterday’s announcement that Greggs the bakery chain will be supplying the British armed forces with a selection of its Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and steak bakes.
The FTSE 250 firm has signed a trial deal with forces caterer NAAFI to supply a base in Gutersloh, Germany with a selection of hot savouries in response to customer demand. If successful the programme could be expanded to other sites around the world, boosting the baker’s attempts to expand beyond high street stores.
“It’s great to hear that Greggs was the most requested brand that troops missed from home and we are really pleased to be making our savouries accessible to our troops,” said chief executive Ken McMeikan, a navy veteran of the Falklands War.
Earlier this year the firm fought a successful rearguard action against the government’s attempts to increase the VAT on certain hot foods – dubbed the pasty tax – and forced chancellor George Osborne into an embarrassing climb-down after he was portrayed as being out of touch with the desires of the general public.
Patrick Coffey, an analyst at Liberum Capital, told City A.M. that the armed forces deal was a typical move for the firm: “This was the year that everyone in the UK heard about Greggs, so brand awareness is probably at its highest ever point. Yesterday’s announcement can only be seen as a positive for brand awareness and sentiment towards to company.
“The management are strong and long-termist. Despite this, the last year and a half has been the most challenging for a long time, with input costs rising quite dramatically and margins coming further under pressure.”