Growing and producing food takes a toll on the world around us. Agriculture and food production make a significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions – around the same amount as emissions from all cars, lorries, aeroplanes, and ships combined. Food production can also destroy the natural resources we rely on for a healthy planet. At M&S, we recognise that we have an important part to play in producing our delicious food sustainably to help create a better future.
Eating more fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, and plant-based proteins has a positive impact both on our health and reduces our environmental impact. We believe that everyone has the power to make small changes that can have a big difference, so we’re introducing more options to ensure our customers can always pick lower impact products without ever compromising on flavour.
We’re focusing on creating alternative proteins that are responsibly sourced, have excellent sustainability credentials, are nutritionally beneficial, and – of course – taste absolutely delicious.
We launched Plant Kitchen, a significant range of meat and dairy free alternatives, in 2019 to meet growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly alternatives. Plant Kitchen launched with 60 items, and we’ve continued to expand Plant Kitchen since then. There are now Plant Kitchen options for every occasion – from scratch-cooking ingredients to prepared meals and sweet treats.
As part of Plan A, our sustainability initiative to reach net zero emissions by 2040, we will double sales of our Plant Kitchen products to £90m per year by 2024.
We have also eliminated soya from the production of all our milk as part of our commitment to end deforestation. Soya is widely used in animal feed across the industry because it is fast-growing and protein-rich, but its use is also having a devastating impact on Brazilian rainforests.
We’ve worked with the 44 British farmers producing M&S RSPCA Assured milk to replace soya feed with alternatives such as rapeseed oil and sugar beet, avoiding nearly 4,000 tonnes of soya each year.
At M&S, we’re known for market-leading innovation within our Food business. In January this year, we launched The Innovation Hub, a new specialist team focusing on disruptive innovation to address some of the sector’s biggest challenges – including meat-free alternatives.
A key part of the Innovation Hub will involve partnering with technology-led business, such as alternative protein supplier 3F Bio. This partnership aims to build on M&S’s market share of plant protein ranges and expand the Plant Kitchen range with 3F Bio’s unique mycoprotein ABUNDA® - a protein made from natural fungus and produced using a zero-waste process.
We are committed to responsible sourcing and have a programme in place across key raw materials. See our raw materials sections for more information.