They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. I’m not entirely sure I agree with that sentiment but it certainly worked for bakery chain Greggs when television presenter Piers Morgan criticised them for launching a vegan sausage roll.

Cast your mind back to January 2019 and Greggs announced the launch of its vegan sausage roll to sit alongside its steak bakes (I love a steak bake).

That prompted Good Morning Britain host Morgan to tweet: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan b****y sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.”

Needless to say, that prompted something of a social media debate about veganism in general and Greggs in particular.

Here’s my take on veganism. I understand and admire the reasons people wish to adopt a plant-based lifestyle but it’s not for me.

However, it’s true to say I probably eat far less meat now than I have in the past. I really don’t care if a meal contains meat as long as it’s tasty.

And my wife, who isn’t a vegetarian, will often opt for the vegetarian option when we eat out.

The thing is, Greggs weren’t offering their vegan sausage roll as a replacement for its meat one, it was as well as, so what’s the problem? It just added to consumer choice.

Nobody is making veganism compulsory, although there’s a good chance the planet would be a much better place if it was.

Anyway, it appears Greggs had the last laugh. Employees got bonuses of £300 a year after the meat-free sausage roll was launched, significantly boosting the baker’s sales.

Greggs paid out a £7m windfall to 25,000 staff in January after a “phenomenal year” that included the highly publicised launch of the new plant-based snack.

There’s no doubt that veganism has moved from the margins into the mainstream and last month, Asda become the first UK supermarket to launch a ‘vegan destination’ in store with two bays entirely dedicated to plant-based products.

With searches for vegan lines up 275 per cent since 2019 on, the retailer has invested in launching vegan aisles across 359 stores which will consist of one bay of savoury products and one bay of snacks and sweet lines.

Sarah Thornewill, Asda’s Buying Manager, said: “We understand that customers want a quick and simple shopping experience, and this shouldn’t be restricted by dietary requirements. By merchandising all our vegan items together, we hope to save customers time and offer inspiration, whether for those following a plant-based diet, or those looking to reduce their meat consumption.”

It looks like vegan products are big business these days, so I take my hat off to Lawrence Hill, from Hartford, whose plant-based Northwich food business Plant Power’s products can now be found in supermarkets across the country.

And Lawrence has also been named Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year for the north west at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

According to the Northwich Guardian, the company was launched in January 2019, and specialises in making tempeh, a natural plant protein, packed with fibre and nutrients.

While travelling in Indonesia Lawrence, who studied for a BTech in business at the former Mid Cheshire College, came across tempeh and was blown away by its taste and versatility.

Lawrence, 27, explained: “I was just so impressed by it and couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about it back home. Lots of people have heard of tofu, but tempeh was relatively unknown, yet it has so much potential and is so good for you.”

Unlike tofu, which is made using only soy milk, tempeh is made by fermenting the whole beans with a naturally occurring live culture and pressing them into blocks for a high protein content and a meaty texture.

I wish Lawrence all the luck in the world. Yes, it really seems like the future is plant-based.

n I couldn’t let another week go by without giving my take on the current state of the coronavirus pandemic.

This column was written on Sunday and at the time of writing, it was not looking good.

The BBC website reported another national coronavirus lockdown is a possibility according to Prof Peter Horby who said the UK was at a “precarious point” as Covid cases and hospital admissions continue to rise.

Those comments echo those of England’s deputy chief medical officer, who said more deaths would follow and urged people to limit social contact.

I fully expect that by the time you read this, the prime minister will have announced tougher local restrictions for us and that the three-tier system, where each region in England is placed into a tier based on the severity of cases in the area, will have been put in place.

I have to confess I’m not looking forward to being locked down again but I will do it to protect my health and the health of my loved ones.

What a massive pity the government wasted the 12 weeks of the national lockdown when it had the perfect opportunity to put an effective test, trace and isolate system in place…but blew it.

All we’re asking for now is a proper plan, one that doesn’t involve giving billions of pounds to private companies.

We can live in hope, and hope is just about all we’ve got left now.