From the Costa del Sol to taking on Pasty Tax – the highlights of Ken McMeikan and Greggs

First published in Business News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Business Editor

• In 2009, Mr McMeikan unveiled plans a £300m five-year plan to open 600 shops across the UK creating at least 6,000 jobs, targeting areas where the chain was under-represented, including the South-West, east Midlands, north east Scotland, the North-West and north Wales. Sites in railway stations and industrial and retail parks were also targeted.

• 2010 sees the firm rolls out its breakfast menu, including sausage and bacon sandwiches and ground coffee and later cappuccinos and croissants, helping the chain to record profits.

• Greggs launches its first Greggs Moment coffee shop in 2011, in Newcastle’s busiest shopping street, to rival Starbucks and Costa. The success of the concept store led to numerous others being launched in the region and further afield.

• Iceland pilots the sale of frozen Greggs’ sausage rolls, which proves so successful the product is rolled out to 700 stores, including branches on the Costa del Sol, and more lines are added.

• Ken McMeikan successfully leads a campaign in 2012 to persuade the Government to repeal the so-called “pasty tax”, which would see VAT of 20 per cent applied to all hot food, including pasties.

• Later in 2012, the firm began to trial sending frozen savouries to the British military base in Gutersloh, Germany, to be baked by Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (Naafi) staff and displayed in a Greggs branded counter after research revealed Greggs pasties and sausage rolls were products British soldiers missed most about home.

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