With innovative and delicious offerings, M&S is the nation’s favourite High Street food destination. We’re never short of a friendly face in store either – and that’s before you get to our Colin the Caterpillar cake and Percy Pigs
1. For starters…
M&S Penny Bazaar stalls sold basic foods and lots of popular brands. By the Thirties, our ice-cream stands offered sandwiches and M&S became synonymous with aspiration and good taste.
2. WWII and beyond
During WWII, we became one of the most trusted distributors of food rations in the country. We explored new methods of fresh-seal packaging, and by the late Fifties focused on our own St Michael trademark.
3. The big chill
In the Sixties, technology came to the fore and our groundbreaking development of the cold-chain process made fresh chilled chicken a hit in our stores. Working carefully with our suppliers, we ensured a year-round supply of ‘seasonal’ produce.
4. Seventies convenience
Always delivering freshness to our customers, M&S introduced sell-by-dates – other retailers soon followed. More customers had home freezers by now and changing lifestyles meant demand for boil-in-the-bag and foil-wrapped convenience foods exploded.
5. Era-defining Chicken Kiev
Internationally inspired meals, from chow mein to vindaloo, got customers talking over the table. Introduced in 1979, our bestselling Chicken Kiev was so successful that M&S set up a new factory dedicated solely to producing this garlicky classic.
6. More choice than ever
Many iconic products were developed in the Eighties, from pre-packaged sandwiches to prepared vegetables and sauces. If you were pushed for time, you could grab a luxury soup, or try vegetarian ready meals like Aubergine Parmigiana.
7. Wellness awareness
By the mid-Eighties, some Jane Fonda-inspired customers were considering lighter food options and we witnessed a surge in popularity in our new Calorie Counted ready-meal range. All meals were under 300 calories.
8. Nineties instant classics
In 1993 Percy Pigs launched and by 2014 over one billion of these deliciously juicy gums had flown off the shelves (yes, pigs can fly). The Colin the Caterpillar chocolate cake was another hit and is still the star of special occasions today.
9. A melting moment
Our first ‘This is not just food, this is M&S food’ TV advert aired in 2004, with a close-up of our Melt-in-the-Middle Chocolate Pudding. Within weeks, sales of the chocolate speciality increased by 3,000 per cent. That’s a lot of puddings!
10. Taste of things to come
Our healthy-eating ranges have advanced, while M&S’s latest cult classics include Jaffa Spheres and the Drinking Coconut – both featured in our 2014 campaign, Adventures in Food. Our innovation journey continues – watch this space for the next course.