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But the Newcastle-based baker has not been cowed and its fourth shop in the county opens in Saltash on Saturday. It is Greggs’ second attempt to win over the town, after a franchise store that opened in 2018 closed within a year.
The new store joins outlets in St Austell, Launceston and Truro. In a sign that tourists or indeed locals are filling up on its sausage rolls and sandwiches, Greggs said the opening was due to “high customer demand”.
The Saltash store is part of the company’s major expansion, with plans to add 150 stores across the UK this year. Local press reports suggest this tally will probably include another Cornish outlet in Newquay.
Roisin Currie, the Greggs chief executive, said the company had returned to Saltash because “our products have been so warmly received by our customers across the county”. The firm now has more than 50 staff in the area. Currie added: “We’re thankful for the support we’ve had from our Cornish customers and look forward to building on this success.”
While famous for its steak bakes and pasties in recent years, Greggs has been trying to move on and broaden its appeal by adding pasta, pizza and salads to its menu.
Pasties can only be called Cornish if they include just beef, potato, swede or turnip, onion and seasoning. Greggs does not have a Cornish pasty on its menu and in Saltash will not even be selling its usual beef and vegetable pasty.
James Baker, whose family runs Baker’s Cornish Bakehouse in Saltash, said he was “not too fussed” about the chain’s arrival as it had not succeeded last time it opened there. “They produce different stuff to us, we’re a bakery and they do baked goods, but it’s not a handmade Cornish pasty like people expect in Cornwall.”
Greggs’ push into Cornwall has resulted in putting the geographically southern-most point of England on the northern side of England’s north-south divide, according to a recent study. Scientists had sought to identify the disputed divide’s location by mapping the distribution of Pret a Manger and Greggs shops.
The algorithm categorised Cornwall as “northern” based on consumption habits, however this was put down as an anomaly due to the lack of data: there are a handful of Greggs and no Prets in the county.