Protecting animals and the environment is most certainly achieved through being a vegan, but what about protecting your own health? Greggs’ new vegan sausage roll epitomises why we may be mistaken if we think it’s a given that simply eating vegan is going to be the ideal dietary choice.
What’s in a Greggs’ vegan sausage roll?
Whilst there’s no comprehensive list of ingredients (odd!), Greggs do provide some details 1 2 which, from a cursory glance, make you realise this is no more a health food than their traditional pork sausage rolls 3 :
Note the amount of red traffic lights (where red means STOP):
- a microfungus (a mycoprotein 4 – a form of single cell protein) called Fusarium venenatum 5 (also used in Quorn) 6
- palm oil (ODM!) 7
- wheat flour
- thickener (possibly potato starch)
- dehydrated onion
- pea fibre
- rubbed sage
- rubbed thyme
- rape-seed oil
- potato protein
- puff pastry made from:
- processed wheat flour
- vegetable margarine
- shortening (solidified fats)
Greggs’ vegan sausage roll vs Greggs’ pork sausage roll
- vegan – 311 (19 grams)
- pork – 327 (22 grams)
- vegan – 12 grams
- pork – 9.4 grams
- vegan – 21 grams
- pork – 24 grams
of which sugars
- vegan – 0.8 grams
- pork – 0 grams
- vegan – 19 grams
- pork – 22 grams
of which saturated fats
- vegan – 9.3 grams
- pork – 13 grams
- vegan – (hopefully) 0 grams
- pork – (undisclosed, but obviously there will be some)
- vegan – 1.9 grams
- pork – 1.6 grams
So, Greggs have done the usual trick of fast food manufacturers when it comes to making meat-mimicking Frankenfoods 8 – adding more salt (almost 2 grams) and sugar (almost a gram) along with all that fat, so your brain gets an immediate ‘happy injection’ with the first crispy bite – just what they rely on.
Gregg’s vegan sausage roll vs McDonald’s cheeseburger
It may or may not surprise you to know that the vegan sausage roll contains more calories than the cheeseburger – 311 vs 301 respectively.
I know it’s no big surprise that we see fast food manufacturers jumping on the latest fad bandwagon – in this case fast food veganism – it’s happened throughout recent history, what with menthol cigarettes being good for your lungs and so-called healthy alternatives to chocolate bars that actually contain more sugar, salt and fat than the unhealthier options they replace (see Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s attack 9 on Kellogg’s Nutri-grain bars, for instance 10 .
It’s also obvious that purveyors of cheap, processed junk will also use visual tactics – note the strategically placed bottle of natural spring water in the background of Greggs’ vegan sausage roll picture:
We humans! If only we spent as much time, energy and resources doing what’s genuinely good for us rather than doing what’s good for the pockets of big business…
One way in which we can tick all the boxes (loving ourselves, the environmental and animals alike without causing harm to any of them) is by choosing a WFPB diet. It also puts the profits into the pockets of producers/sellers of genuinely healthy food.
- Greggs’ website: Vegan Sausage Roll nutritional information
- Daily Mail article 12th January 2019: Greggs’ guilty secret: More calories than a McCheeseburger and laced with controversial palm oil – the unpalatable truth about that VERY right-on vegan sausage roll
- Greggs’ Pork Sausage Roll nutritional information.
- Some info on Mycoprotein
- Before Fusarium venenatum is safe to eat, it’s fermented in vats to make what’s then called ‘mycoprotein’. After five weeks, the mixture is stirred, so denser fungus sinks to the bottom, where it’s heated to 64c, filtered off and dried. ScienceDirect: Fusarium venenatum.
- Most Quorn products have a little saturated fat and cholesterol (some egg and milk products mixed in), along with a fair bit of salt. Dr Greger still considers this type of ‘fake’ meat to be preferable to the real thing – see his video Chicken vs. Veggie Chicken , since chicken has all that additional saturated fat and cholesterol, animal protein (obviously!) and contains zero fibre.
- Palm oil has been linked to deforestation, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in countries where it’s produced, with many customers boycotting retailers using it. More info here: The problem with palm oil.
- Dr Joel Fuhrman: Frankenfoods.
- BBC’s Britain’s Fat Fight with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: The Battle Continues.
- Evening Standard: Take heed of Hugh’s Fearnley-Whittingstall noble fight to stop the obesity crisis – or we’ll all be stuffed