M&S healthy

Source: Marks & Spencer

M&S is ramping up efforts to tap the plant-based sector as Veganuary kicks off

M&S has expanded its Plant Kitchen range to meet the growing demand for meat alternatives and tap the rise in sustainability-conscious shoppers.

As Veganuary kicked off, the retailer added 15 new products to its plant-based  line for a total of 175 – including veggie meatballs and ‘fish fingers’, a new mince alternative, and a variety of ready-made meals.

All of the new vegan products hit the shelves on 3 January.

M&S is also tapping the rise in eco-consciousness by launching a new challenge for its Sparks users earlier this week, encouraging them to shop more sustainably and reduce food waste.

The Sparking Change National Challenge is available through its loyalty reward scheme, and participants are given a range of resources to help them opt for healthier and more sustainable choices.

During the first two months of the year, shoppers will have access to recipes, tips and cook-along events that are set to help them reduce their animal protein intake as well as tackle food waste.

“Our Sparking Change Challenge is designed to help customers make small changes that can easily be incorporated into their day-to-day lives and make it stick for the long term,” said M&S nutritionist Sophia Linn.

“We want to help our customers explore and enjoy more sustainable ways of living, and our Plant Kitchen range means any swaps customers do make aren’t compromising on quality, affordability or taste.”

Sparks customers taking part in the event will receive discounts on M&S’s Plant Kitchen range every Monday throughout January to encourage them to go plant-based at least one day a week.

February will focus on teaching consumers to cook healthy meals whilst tackling food waste by giving them tips on batch cooking, storing food for longer and using up leftovers efficiently.

Back in November 2021, M&S Food MD Stuart Machin told The Grocer  the retailer needed to ramp up its plant-based range as shopper demand was on the rise.

The latest Ethical Consumerism report by the Co-op showed that annual ethical consumer spending and finance in the UK in 2020 surpassed £100bn for the first time, after Covid-fuelled lifestyle changes and climate change awareness boosted demand in sectors such as plant-based foods.

The research showed that ‘ethical food & drink’ spending rose 12.3% in 2020 from the previous year, to a total of £14.1bn – with the vegetarian and plant-based alternatives category increasing in sales by 34%.