Veggie Pret opens its doors

Cornmarket Street’s Pret a Manger has completed its remodel, rebranding into Veggie Pret serving exclusively vegan and vegetarian food and drink. 

The shop officially opened its doors on 27th January, and it will be used as a hub of innovation for new meat-free offerings from the company. It will trial new offerings and exclusives only available at Veggie Pret as well as a range of vegetarian and vegan twists on Pret classics like the Meatless Meatball Wrap.

The unique items include the No’Duja Toasted Foccacia and the Vegan Hoisin Mushroom Wrap, and a range of vegan and vegetarian bakery items like the Very Berry Croissant and the Vegetarian Cheese Twist. The offerings are all freshly prepared in the on-site kitchen. The branch will also offer exclusively dairy-free milk options for drinks, including soya, coconut and oat milk. 

The brand is looking to appeal to the wider Oxford community, stating: “Our mission is to make meat-free food so good it can be enjoyed by everyone (not just veggies).” The venture is motivated by a higher demand for meat-free offerings, with a spokesperson for the company saying: “Over half of our menu is vegetarian or vegan, with meat-free and vegan options accounting for 1 in 3 of our main meals sales.”

The Interim UK Managing Director at Pret a Manger, Guy Meakin, said: “We’re delighted to be opening a new Veggie Pret shop in Oxford with our franchise partner Dallas Holdings. Together with our other classic Pret shops across the city, we look forward to offering customers an even greater range of delicious, freshly prepared vegetarian and vegan options.”

The remodel comes as four Veggie Pret branches close in London, with a shop in Canary Wharf undergoing a rebrand to a classic Pret. This leaves only three London Veggie Pret shops, in Soho, Exmouth Market, and Shoreditch. The Oxford branch is now one of only 5 Veggie Prets nationwide, with the Oxford and Manchester branches making up the only Veggie Pret offerings outside London. 

The company had originally planned to convert all Eat branches to Veggie Prets, but after the pandemic the plans were scrapped and the remaining Eat shops were permanently closed. A spokesperson stated: “Our focus now is to keep growing our extensive vegetarian and vegan offers in every Pret shop, so we’ve decided to close or convert some of our current Veggie Prets.”

The rest of Oxford’s Pret locations, located on Cornmarket Street, in the Westgate Centre, and the Oxford Railway Station, are expected to continue to serve meat options.

Image credit: Rose Henderson for The Oxford Student

Image description: Veggie Pret, rebranded with new green signage