Greggs vegan sausage rolls have been a "revelation" said the bakery's boss, as he received an OBE from the Queen.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside, who was presented with an OBE for services to women and equality at Windsor Castle on Friday, says the vegan option helped his company step away from an old-fashioned image.
He said: "Because we have been around for so long, we are in the psyche of the British public.
“Of course our heritage is in bakery and we have seemed to have been probably a bit old fashioned and all of those sorts of thing in the past.
“So for us to be in the forefront of things like vegan and gluten free, that tends to attract the headlines.”
He said that the introduction of the vegan sausage roll was part of a “long-term” strategy to adjust to the public’s changing eating habits and was not a publicity stunt.
He said: “We wouldn’t do it if we thought it was a fad.
“It is clear to us that dietary choice is something that is broadening in appeal and in the way we live."
Mr Whiteside added that while there were “very few” people who follow a completely vegan diet, there has been a trend among the public wanting to eat less meat.
He added: “I now eat more vegetable meals than I used to because I feel like it is probably better to have a diet that is more balanced in that way.”
Profits at Greggs have been boosted by the launch of the vegan sausage roll and there has been a move to add more vegan food to their menus, according to Mr Whiteside.