This week has been declared National Vegetarian Week by The Vegetarian Society. Reporter Dale Haslam found out what is happening in Bolton for non-meat-eaters.

WHEN I mention to people that I am a vegetarian, many ask what I eat day-to-day.

The answer is simple — there are many meals you can prepare after a supermarket shop, whether it be a Quorn stir fry, pasta or pizza.

But when out and about it can be a different story, as many outlets make a meagre effort to stock up on meat-free dishes.

In Bolton town centre, the choice during a quick lunch break can sometimes come down to a cheese sandwich or a packet of crisps.

This week is National Vegetarian Week, a themed period founded by the National Vegetarian Society to raise awareness of animal-kind meals and to encourage retailers to do more for the estimated 4 million UK residents that stick to a meat-free diet.

Among those embracing the idea are staff at The Kitchen on Great Moor Street, who will be handing out free samples of veggie delights in the town centre each morning this week.

Bella Italia at The Middlebrook Retail Park in Horwich is also running a promotion and The Strawberry Duck pub in Overshores Road, Turton, has a special veggie menu on tonight (May 22).

Also getting in on the act is Greenhalgh’s, which runs 15 bakeries in Bolton area.

Not only does the firm whip up a butter pie exclusive to the North West, but it also bakes a range of other meat-free pies as well.

Eager not to miss out, I bit into some of their finest creations this week and was impressed with their veggie menu.

The standard cheese and onion pie was nice enough, but there is a lot more pizzazz in the roast pepper pie and the mushroom and potato version is even more delicious.

For those who are not too keen on a cheese overload, the leek and potato pie is worth the below-£2 price tag and there are plenty of sandwiches and pastries worth tasting too.

The fact that a fair few shops are making an effort during National Vegetarian Week has made me feel a little more optimistic about my quests for animal friendly fare — let us hope retailers adopt the same spirit the rest of the year round.