Greggs Sausage Roll Index: How long Leeds employees must work to afford one compared to the rest of the UK

Leeds employees must work longer than others in the UK to afford a Greggs sausage roll, a new study has claimed.

By Simi Mundey
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 3:57 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 3:59 pm

Leeds has been ranked 41st on the first ever Greggs Sausage Roll Cost of Living Index - a new measure of how long people in 100 different parts of the UK must work in order to afford a sausage roll from the popular high-street bakery.

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Drive-thru Greggs planned just off M1 at Silkwood Park Wakefield

The study found those working in the Lichfield area of Staffordshire had to put in the most graft at four minutes and 54 seconds, meaning they must work for almost two minutes longer than people in London.

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Approximately 2.5 million sausage rolls are sold each week in the UK by Greggs. Picture: Shutterstock/loocmill

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those working in the capital earned their sausage roll in the UK's fastest time of two minutes and 58 seconds.

Meanwhile, the index shows Leeds residents must work a total of three minutes and 58 seconds to get their sausage roll - a full minute longer than their London counterparts.

What is the Greggs Sausage Roll Index?

The Greggs Sausage Roll Index is loosely based on The Economist's Big Mac Index, which was initially published in 1986. This was used as a way in which to measure the purchasing power across different nations.

John Hawksworth, a senior independent economist, was commissioned by finance website to carry out the new study.

He was asked to focus on 100 towns and cities across Great Britain and to measure the time that a full-time employee would need to work in order to meet the cost of their takeaway sausage roll.

Investing Reviews chose the famous high-street sausage roll as an everyday yardstick for this nationwide cost of living study, just as the Big Mac burger was used more than 30 years ago.

Greggs remains a firm favourite for many, with approximately 2.5 million sausage rolls being sold each week by the company's network of more than 2,000 shops.

While the item chosen to create the index may be lighthearted, it ultimately exposes regional inequalities by comparing living standards across the country.

How were the figures calculated?

The index was calculated using Greggs sausage roll prices and local median hourly-pay estimates, which were provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The approach was to take the latest available estimates of median gross hourly pay for full-time employees from the 2021 ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and adjust them according to the latest available estimate from the ONS of regular pay growth in the three months to February 2022 as compared to a year earlier.

What is the significance of the findings?

The index has been published just weeks after the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities released its levelling up white paper which outlined the Government's plans to target geographic inequalities.

Mr Hawksworth said: “In part, the analysis is a bit of fun with the sausage roll standing in for the Big Mac as a standardised product to compare purchasing power across different places. But it does also make the serious point that there are very large variations in income levels across our towns and cities.

“These local earnings gaps are driven by variations in productivity across places that reflect deep-seated disparities in education, opportunity and infrastructure across the country.

“Narrowing these income gaps remains one of the most important economic challenges facing this and future governments.”

Greggs have also recently warned customers that they may have to work even harder than expected in the future, for their sausage rolls as there are price hikes anticipated later this year. chief executive Simon Jones added: “Amid all the Government’s talk of levelling up, a great divide still exists across Great Britain today with Greggs customers in some parts typically having to work 65 per cent longer than Londoners just to be able to afford a sausage roll.

“As the cost of living squeeze continues to intensify, Brits are going to have to work a lot harder in the future to afford life’s simple pleasures."