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Our Approach

Over the years, we have been leading standards across the industry - from becoming the first retailer to sell 100% free-range eggs in 2002, to tracing all our beef back to the individual farm and animal. We want our customers to trust that the food they buy from M&S is sourced responsibly and with care.

We have the highest welfare standards in the market, meaning better quality food, and we will further solidify our market leading position and ensure this is consistent across species. In particular we will drive standards on chicken to improve farming and quality.

We will work with our suppliers to grow food responsibily, using less pesticides, and protecting natural resources like water & wildlife, as well as investing in partnershils with British farmers to help them care for the environment and produce great quality food.

Our aim is to reduce Food waste so we’re working hard to halve waste in our stores, maximising the level of edible surplus waste redistributed through our charity partnerships, as well as helping our customers  waste less at home, through more re-sealable packaging and clearer labelling on when products can be eaten until.

With the aspiration to be more relevant, more often for our customers, we have developed a Plant Kitchen range – delicious, best in class quality, vegan products that appeals to a broad range of customers that also includes vegetarians, flexitarians and meat eaters. We plan to extend our offer across categories, customer missions and seasonal events, to always offer a vegan option. 

We respect and support the dignity, wellbeing and human rights of the people who grow and make our quality products. We strive to be a fair partner – paying a fair price to suppliers, supporting local communities, and ensuring good working conditions for everyone working in our business and supply chains. Our Global Sourcing Principles, set out our minimum global supplier standards, which apply across our entire business and we continue to tirelessly work with our supply chain partners to drive positive change for workers by creating great places to work and exploring ways to enhance their livelihoods.

We now source 100% of soy from South America through certification and RTRS credit schemes, with an ambition to source 100% of soy from verified deforestations-free regions by 2025. All of our palm oil is certified as RSPO and we are working towards 100% segregated.

We will use less packaging, making sure what we do use is always recyclable and made from as much recycled content as possible.

Our History

We have a history of firsts behind us. Here are just a few examples:

Since 2004, we’ve received over 50 awards in recognition of our accomplishments within the food arena.

Sustainable Raw Materials

We have a strong heritage of sourcing with integrity. Over the years, we’ve taken significant steps to improve the sourcing of key raw materials in our products to ensure our products are good quality, good value and sustainably sourced to meet our customers expectations. 

An overview of our priority raw materials, commodities and ingredients is included below. 

Fish and Shellfish

100% of the farmed fish and shellfish we source for M&S products comes from third party certified sources, and 99.5% of wild-caught fish and shellfish for M&S products come from a Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) recognised third party certified source. Find out more about M&S Fish and Shellfish sourcing here.

Meat and Poultry

100% of the meat and poultry we source meet our M&S Select Farm Standards and are independently assured to UK Red Tractor Farm standards (or equivalent). Find out more about M&S Beef, Lamb & VenisonPork, Poultry and Game sourcing.


100% of M&S milk farms are independently assured to UK Red Tractor Farm standards and are RSPCA assured. Find out more about M&S milk sourcing here.


100% of M&S branded eggs are free-range and meet an independently assured M&S accepted standard (UK Red Tractor, Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme (EQAS), Code of Practice for Lion Eggs, Duck Assurance Scheme (DAS) – Eggs, or KAT Standard). Find out more about M&S 100% Free Range Egg sourcing here.

Flowers and Plants

100% flower and plant growers meet the Global GAP Flowers & Ornamental Standard our M&S Non-GM and Pesticides Policy. Find out more about M&S flower and plant sourcing here.

Palm Oil

100% of palm oil used in M&S products was Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certifed (75% segregated and 25% mass balance). Find out more about M&S palm oil sourcing here.


We've supported the sustainable production of soy through the purchase of Round Table Responsible Soy (RTRS) credits or via our direct supplier procurement to a deforestation free production standard for 100% of the soy in our supply chain from South America. From 2020, our focus has shifted to ensure that 100% of our soy is sourced from verified deforestation free regions by 2025. The majority of the soy we use is found in the animal feed of our livestock, and to ensure we don't contribute to deforestation we have a goal of sourcing all soy from approved or recognised sustainable soy schemes. Find out more about M&S soy sourcing here.

Tea and Coffee

100% of Tea and Coffee in M&S Foodhalls and Cafes are Fairtrade certified. In 2004, we became the first retailer to source only Fairtrade certified coffee for our M&S Cafes, and in 2006 we were the first retailer to source only Fairtrade certified tea across our products. Our ongoing commitment means our growers collectively receive over £1,000,000 in Fairtrade premiums each year. Find out more about M&S Tea and Coffee sourcing.


100% of the cocoa we source for M&S branded products is from verified sustainable sources (UTZ Certification/Rainforest Alliance/Fairtrade Certified/Third party verified HORIZONS cocoa/Olam Livelihoods Charter). Find out more about M&S Cocoa sourcing here.

Find out more about our approach to raw materials, commodities and ingredients here.

Animal Welfare

We are committed to making sure that the welfare of the animals used for our products is protected.  Our commitments have been recognised by organisations such as the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming – who have awarded M&S Tier 1 status in in the Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare and have been since 2013, the longest recognised UK retailer in this leading Tier. 

Find out more about our animal welfare standards here.

Food Waste

At M&S, we’re proud of our quality and fresh food and believe it’s just too good to be wasted. That’s why we’ve committed to halving food waste (net food waste relative to sales) by 2030 and ensure all of our edible food waste if redistributed to our charity partners.

Find out more about our Food Waste here.

Plastics Plan

We have a goal to achieve a circular system where we reduce the amount of plastic we use and that any we do gets reused or recycled. Our 3 key actions are to:

1. Reduce the plastic we use in our business

2. Working collaboratively to reform the UK’s waste and recycling system

3. Make it easier for our customers to reuse and recycle plastic

Find out more about our approach to plastics and packaging here.

Non-Branded Goods

We are predominantly an own-brand retailer, branded goods are a very small proportion of what we sell – around one per cent of total lines across the store. Plan A applies to our own products, operations, customers, employees and our supply base, however it does not apply to the supply chains of branded goods. A number of these suppliers do have their own, well respected sustainability programmes, for example Unilever. We work closely with some of these companies, sharing best practice and advice, however ultimately they are responsible for the standards applied to their branded products.  

Working with others

Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business.

Many issues are too large or complex for us to tackle alone, so it is vital that we work with others. Our external partners have already provided solutions, improved our understanding of issues, aided us in building capacity within our supply base and helped us inspire our customers. Within our Food Group, we’re working with many different organisations, including the British Retail Consortium, Consumer Goods Forum,  FAI Farms, Fairtrade, Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD), LEAF, RSPCA and WRAP to name but a few.

Throughout this website, we explain how they, and our many other partners, are helping us address specific issues.