Marks and Spencer's food business is becoming more and more important for the company ­ but for the all the wrong reasons. This honest analysis came from M&S boss Luc Vandevelde, who told the ECR Europe conference that the problems in its clothing business, which continues to lose market share, meant food was growing into its most important category. It currently accounts for 45% of the M&S business. "We see substantial growth opportunities for our food business. "It will not come by taking share from other retailers but by taking business away from restaurants and takeaways," said Vandevelde. He added that M&S launched 1,500 new products a year and nearly all of them were ready meals. And he again said that M&S did well whenever there was a food safety crisis as consumers trusted its reputation as a retailer of quality items. M&S is pressing ahead with plans to open a chain of convenience stores and has already opened a number of food only stores in major cities. {{NEWS }}