Marks & Spencer (M&S) has expanded its own-brand vegan Plant Kitchen range across its Hong Kong stores. Some of the new products that shoppers will find on shelves include a dairy-free feta cheese alternative, plant-based chicken tenders and melty vegan fishcakes. The expanded vegan offerings at M&S comes as plant-based eating and flexitarianism in Hong Kong rises in popularity.
British retailer M&S has begun rolling out new vegan options across its Hong Kong stores, adding new Plant Kitchen products to shelves, as well as extending its line of organic grocery items. From Thursday (March 10), all 21 M&S outlets in Hong Kong will stock several new meat and dairy-free alternatives, including vegan meatballs, pea protein-based fried chicken tenders with vegan mayonnaise, plant-based sweet and sour chicken served with eggless fried rice and tofu, and melt-in-the-middle fishcakes made from rice protein.
Also on the line-up are new vegan-friendly cheeses, primarily made from a base of coconut oil, such as a mature style cheddar, which comes in sliced, grated or block formats, as well as Greek-style crumbly “feta” cubes in brine. All products in the Plant Kitchen range are presented in the line’s distinctive teal coloured packaging, making it easy for consumers to distinguish the vegan items from its animal-based counterparts.
In addition to expanding its vegan range, M&S says that its organic offerings sourced from its selected certified organic suppliers will also be larger across its Hong Kong stores. There will be more than 30 new GMO-free and pesticide-free cupboard staples, including a number of plant-based ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, lentils, honey-free granola and jams and marmalades made with no gelatin.
The move is aligned with the British retailer’s company-wide push to ramp up its plant-based category, with the supermarket having recently opened a new Innovation Hub with a specialist team dedicated to plant-based proteins, as well as a team to develop new plastic-free packaging solutions to go the further mile in terms of sustainability.
At the time of the announcement, M&S Food managing director Stuart Machin said: “Creating a dedicated team with the sole purpose of driving disruptive innovation will support us in being more relevant to our customers.”
The decision for M&S to bring its expanded Plant Kitchen range to Hong Kong also comes as the plant-based and flexitarian trend in the city reaches new highs, especially since the coronavirus crisis. Last year, a survey findings showed almost a quarter of the Hong Kong population are now actively looking to reduce their meat intake as a direct result of the pandemic.
A more recent poll revealed that residents are searching for more vegan grocery and restaurant options than ever before – especially in the category of alternative dairy. According to the respondents, vegan cheese was named the number one “hardest vegan item to find”.
In response to skyrocketing demand, it isn’t just M&S expanding vegan options, with Hong Kong’s biggest grocery group ParknShop having recently introduced Impossible Foods to its stores, as well as the most frequented convenience chain 7-Eleven working with Green Monday to bring vegan ready made meals to all 700 outlets across the city.
All images courtesy of M&S.