I travel lots for work, usually by train, and I entertain my fellow travellers with my complete knowledge of the sandwich and salad cabinets of the chains which inhabit our nation’s rail stations. If you travel lots too, you’ll know the pickings are slim for us vegans.
Most sandwiches spoil their vegan credentials by an inexplicable addition of cheese to an otherwise-content chap like a falafel and humous wrap. Some sandwiches seem to be vegan on the outside but the allergy warnings tell a mysterious story of dairy being present somewhere in their hearts – possibly butter used as spread, who can say?
There are some particularly disappointing offenders like Marks and Spencers, who I write to periodically with a moan about their lack of vegan sandwiches and some statistics about the numbers of vegan customers they probably have. I’m sure they take my letters very seriously.
Where there are rare chain train stores with vegan sandwiches or a vegan salad, they’re never the freshest by any means, such as the Fresh! Bugsy sandwich which used to be sold at Boots and Whistlestop and, despite its name, always tasted to me like it was made weeks ago. And anyway, I may be vegan but I do like a proper meal, and I’d rather have a more substantial sandwich than a thin layer of humous and some carrot shavings, thanks very much.
Usually I end up getting crisps and a pot of humous which is tasty but if you do it all the time (and I do do it all the time) you feel dirty.
So, thanks to Pret A Manger for putting their Super Greens sarnie on their permanent menu. With kale, avocado, peppers and almonds, it’s a tasty one too.
Of course I don’t go into Pret as a matter of course, preferring to support indie cafes where I can see it made in front of me, but if you’ve been to any train station – or any transport hub in fact – in the UK recently you’ll know that you rarely have that option. So in the land of chains which we roam whilst waiting to go places, I’m very excited that Pret have broken ranks and realised there’s a Vegan market to please, just like any other ‘specialist’ eaters.
This is a real breakthrough! Ten years ago you wouldn’t have assumed a vegetarian or gluten-free option in any chain cafe, now let’s hope it’ll be the same for us Vegans in a few years.