Own-label showcase: M&S Plant Kitchen

first_imgOrganic Super FirmTofuRsp: £2.50M&S says: Organic tofu. Dirty FriesRsp: £3M&S says: Fried potato chips in tomato and vegan bechamel sauce, topped with a grated coconut oil-based alternative to cheese. Vegan Potato SaladRsp: £1.50M&S says: Potatoes in a vegan mayonnaise-style dressing with onions and herbs. Rainbow Veg Sushi WrapRsp: £2.30M&S says: Avocado, sweet potato, pickled turmeric mooli and pickled red cabbage with a ginger, chilli and coriander dressing, wrapped in a cooked rice and dried seaweed roll with black sesame seeds. Mexican SupergrainsRsp: £3M&S says: Rice, black beans, quinoa and pumpkin seeds with a sweetcorn and chipotle chilli dip. Cauliflower PopcornRsp: £3M&S says: Deep-fried battered cauliflower pieces with a pot of spicy chilli dip. Mushroom PieRsp: £2M&S says: Shortcrust pastry pie with chestnut, white and portobello mushroom and gravy filling. No Chic’n Chunks and No Meat MinceRsp: Both £2M&S says: No Chic’n Chunks are gluten and meat-free chunks made with seasoned soya protein and No Meat Mince is gluten and meat-free mince made with seasoned soya protein.center_img Moroccan Lentil StewRsp: £3M&S says: Spiced dates, aubergines, carrots and red peppers with lentils and chickpeas. Beet BurgerRsp: £2.50M&S says: Two chickpea, beetroot, green lentil and onion seasoned vegan burgers with rice and carrots. Cashew MacRsp: £3M&S says: Cooked pasta and roasted mushrooms in cashew nut and mustard sauce, topped with paprika crumb. Expert verdict: Jennifer Pardoe, Plant Based to BusinessWhat do you think?With the number of flexitarians growing annually it’s been a long time coming for M&S to step up its plant-based game. M&S is known for innovative, quality food with their own twists, and not for hopping on the bandwagon of every urban food trend. Considering plant-based eating is more of a ‘dietary shift’ than ‘minor trend’, why did it take so long? Quality can’t be rushed, it seems. The timing, however, of Plant Kitchen’s launch couldn’t have been more perfect: during the double whammy of January’s consumer focus on healthier eating combined with the growing campaign of Veganuary. Also, the choice of celebrity endorsements on the shelf talkers has not gone unnoticed. Paddy McGuiness – who knew?Is the range interesting?I love that no one at M&S has deemed that eating plant-based must always be about rainbow colours, light-as-a-feather portions, or virtuous healthy eating 365 days a year.There’s clear division of uber-healthy versus fast food. There are beet burgers and falafels for the healthy weekdays, and ’fun, street food-style’ eats you might have for a weekly treat, such as the Dirty Fries, Cauliflower Popcorn and Mac N’ Cheese. There’s a raft of more traditional staples and sides such as spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, mushroom pie, margherita pizza, potato salad and coleslaw – and there are three healthier reliable ready meals: Thai Green Curry, Roasted Aubergine, and Mushroom Stronganoff with Cauli Rice. There’s something for everyone.What does this tell us about the wider own-label strategy?By investing in a fully-fledged plant-based development, accompanied by perfectly positioned naming and branding, M&S has reasserted its strengths in own-label and has justified the time lag behind competitors. The focus remains on quality, and being in control of guiding and delighting its customers with innovation. Notably, Plant Kitchen is also free from black plastic packaging, using more widely recyclable trays, as well as foil trays and cardboard boxes. How does it stack up against other own-label vegan ranges?Plant Kitchen feels more hearty, grown-up and accomplished. It’s worth the wait. Competitors have either taken an uber-healthy route or they have rushed products to the shelves and left flavour as an afterthought.Also, there is an oversupply of vegan shepherd’s pies and curries under third party brands and M&S has now proven they are a force to be reckoned with.I’d only improve upon the sandwich range, but cold vegetables between bread is a hard sell. I’m sure the product developers will be working on proper meat and cheese alternative sandwiches, given the main ingredient suppliers are soon to obtain their necessary BRC accreditations.Finally, to the one major flaw in Plant Kitchen, which I do hope I don’t need to wait another year for: what’s for pudding? Marks & Spencer kicked off Veganuary by launching a 60-strong vegan own-brand range called Plant Kitchen. The range comprises a number of fresh meals, salads, snacks and ingredients including vegan coleslaws and potato salad – which it claims are high street firsts. To offer deeper insight into the range, we’ve selected 13 of the new products to highlight what they are, what they’re competing against and what they tell us about Marks & Spencer’s wider own-brand strategy. This time, expert analysis is from Plant Based to Business co-founder Jennifer Pardoe. This showcase is part of a new series of articles examining key trends and developments in own-label and has been introduced to support The Grocer Own-Label Accreditation Scheme. Under this new scheme, all the products we review can apply for accreditation at any time, through a programme of continuous consumer testing and approval developed to help retailers and suppliers promote the best own-label products. Find out more here.You might be interested in our other own-label showcases – we’ve recently analysed M&S ready-to-drink cocktails, Amazon’s private-label brands, Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients range and Aldi’s disruptive Lacura beauty range.,No Chic’n NuggetsRsp: £2.50M&S says: Soya-based nuggets coated in a gluten-free crumb. Plant-based decoded: The Grocer to host free webinarlast_img read more

Eni to take up $4 billion impairment hit due to lower oil price outlook

first_imgThe amountof the estimated impairment losses are expected to be recorded in Eni’sconsolidated results for the second-quarter 2020 due to be released on 30 July 2020. The company is assuming that the long-term price for Brent would stand at a long-term price $60 a barrel from 2023 onwards, down from a previous forecast of $70. Eni addedthat it was still working on its assessment of the impairments and that theestimate might vary by around 20 per cent, up or down. Of the pre-taximpairment charges estimated at $3.16 billion, the Italian firm expectswrite-downs of about $2.26 billion related to its upstream assets and around $900million in its refining operations. The estimate also includes devaluation oftax credits of around $790 million. Eni said onMonday that it was cutting its forecasts for oil and gas prices, both in theshort and long term. Eni confirmsemissions reduction strategy Eni added onMonday that the market developments linked to the spread of the COVID-19pandemic made the robustness of the company’s strategic path and its long-termchoices even more compelling. For theyears 2020-2022, Brent prices are expected respectively at $40, 48, and 55 per barrel,compared to the previous assumptions of $45, 55, and 70 per barrel Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s CEO, said: “We confirm our strategy to become a leader in the decarbonization process, notwithstanding the enduring impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and the company. center_img Namely, thedistinctive element of this strategy is the fixed 2050 absolute emissionsreduction target of 80 per cent covering all of the company’s products. According toBP, non-cash impairment charges and write-offs in the second quarter areestimated to be in an aggregate range of $13 billion to $17.5 billion post-tax. Italian oil major Eni is expecting to report impairments of around 3.5 billion euros (cca. $3.96 billion) as a result of a lower outlook for energy prices. This is wellabove the 70 per cent threshold indicated by the IEA in the SustainableDevelopment Scenario that tracks the reduction of emissions compatible with theParis Agreement. “Our changed long-term assumptions reached four months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect our current expectations about future prices and will be incorporated in our processes of capital allocation”. Eni is not the first major company to announce such an impairment hit. Namely, BP is also expecting massive reductions to asset values during the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the combined hit of the oil price plunge and the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are assessing how to speed up our plans. This ongoing evolution will allow the company to achieve a better-balanced portfolio, reducing the exposure to the volatility of hydrocarbon prices, while progressing towards our targets of sustainability and profitability.last_img read more

Mason City council tonight to get update from hotel developer for River City Renaissance project

first_imgMASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City this evening will hold a workshop session to hear a presentation from the developer of the hotel that’s part of the River City Renaissance project.Gatehouse Mason City LLC was chosen back in November to be the developer after G8 Development was found to be in default of their agreement with the city. The hotel is a key component as it fulfills the private investment portion of the $39 million project being supported through the Iowa Reinvestment Act.The council will hear a presentation and update from Gatehouse on the hotel at 5:30 in the second floor conference room at City Hall.At 6:30, Gatehouse representatives and Mason City Foundation board members will hold an open house at Music Man Square, with the public being invited to ask questions and see architectural renderings of the project.last_img read more