We live in an increasingly globalised society. Many of the products we enjoy in everyday life have been sourced and produced in locations from all over the world. Retailers face continual scrutiny on the efficiency and safety of their supply chain, provenance of raw materials, and their approach to responsible sourcing in order to minimise reputational risks. Effective supply chain management is also key to security of supply, remaining price competitive, as well as innovation and sustainability.
As one of the most trusted Brands on the high street, we believe our role is to reassure our customers and key stakeholders that our products are safe and sourced with integrity. To do this, we must look beyond our operations to the wider supply chain, where the biggest impacts occur. Customers are also increasingly concerned about their health and also demanding information and reassurance of the origin and content of their food.
Commitments and targets
We are committed to protecting our brand integrity and maintaining customer trust by ensuring that our products are safe, legal, high quality and accurately reflect any claims or statements that are made.
We also want to lead our sector in sustainable production and consumption, offering our customers the good value, high quality products and services they expect from M&S, while respecting planetary boundaries and the need for social equity. We recognise the integral role of animal health and welfare in sustainable food production and strive to continue progressing the highest welfare standards.
We are a food specialist, not a supermarket. Our products are made exclusively for M&S and this unique position means they are not comparable with the rest of the market. We have a catalogue in the region of 7,000 products, offering everything from everyday essentials to special occasion food. Rather than joining the race to the bottom on price, we focus on developing top-quality ranges that are competitively priced, whilst ensuring our suppliers get a fair deal too.
It is of paramount importance that we manage the safety and integrity of our products and supply chain, especially as we grow our global food business and given the heightened risk of fraudulent behaviour in the supply chain.
We believe our product standards are industry-leading. We require all products to be made by suppliers who are technically competent within their specific area and who operate well managed hygienic locations applying Good Manufacturing Practice, a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach and due diligence to ensure safety, legality, integrity and consistent quality.
Where we make a claim on pack, either directly or through the consumer information we provide, or have a brand value, we have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the content of the product accurately reflects these statements. We divide integrity risks into two types:
- Brand integrity claims – claims that we make about things that are controlled by approved supply chains, supplier specification and segregation. Examples include country of origin, non-GM ingredients, farming standards such as Free Range and Outdoor Bred, and certifications like Fairtrade or Marine Stewardship Council
- Product compositional claims – claims that we make about things that are controlled by approved supplier specification, manufacturing methods and/or defined industry standards. Examples include nutritional information, illegal residues (e.g. pesticides, veterinary medicines), or compositional standards (e.g. extra virgin olive oil)
Our Technical Terms of Trade set out our minimum requirements for suppliers in order to meet our commitment to customers to deliver products that are safe, legal and high quality and which have been produced with integrity.
Our Technical Terms of Trade
are supported by a number of policies (e.g. Packaging
, and so on) and Codes of Practice (which set out our requirements in detail for a particular topic) and Guidelines (which are advisory in nature). These can be found on Connect – our online Quality Management System – and should be read alongside our Terms of Trade. Our technical requirements are expected to be fully understood at a senior management level and communicated to all staff involved in producing our products. Find out more about our approach to supplier management.
Our approach to product standards focuses on: