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

Dutch roundup: KLM schemes, Vervoer, Pensioenfonds TNO

first_imgVliegend Personeel, the €8.2bn scheme for pilots, said it failed to meet the required financial buffers by 1 percentage point, after its policy funding dropped to 117.9%.Cabinepersoneel reported quarterly returns of 3.2%, 1.8% and 0.6% on fixed income, equity and real estate, respectively, and said its interest hedge added 1 percentage point to its return of 3.4%The pension fund’s return year to date is 7.2%.Algemeen Pensioenfonds KLM, the €7.9bn scheme for ground staff, posted second-quarter and first-half returns of 3.5% and 6.9%, respectively.During the last quarter, its fixed income, equity and real estate portfolios returned 4.1%, 1.9% and 0.5%, respectively.Funding, as of the end of June, stood at 101.7%.The pilots pension fund produced second-quarter and first-half returns of 2.6% and 4.2%, respectively, while its coverage ratio stood at 112.5% as of the end of the quarter. In other news, Vervoer, the €23bn sector scheme for private road transport, has returned 15.8% year to date.As a result, its funding increased by 1.3 percentage points to 99%.The €3.3bn Pensioenfonds TNO, meanwhile, has returned 8.2% on investments year to date, attributing the result largely to its fixed income holdings, which returned 12.2%.It incurred a 2.9% loss on equities, however, while producing neutral results on property and private equity.The research institute’s scheme said its interest and currency hedges had contributed 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively, to its first-half performance.It closed the second quarter with a funding of 105.6% and a policy coverage of 107.9%. KLM’s three main pension funds generated returns of up to 3.5% over the second quarter on the back of positive results on all asset classes.The investment returns, however, failed to offset the negative impact of falling interest rates on liabilities, resulting in a slight drop of the schemes’ coverage ratios.By contrast, their policy funding – the 12-month average of their coverage, and the main criterion for rights cuts and indexation – fell by almost 3 percentage points.As a consequence, Cabinepersoneel, the €2.7bn pension fund for cabin staff, saw its policy coverage decrease to 102.8%, causing a funding shortfall.last_img read more