Introducing the M&S Modern Asian range

From the spicy streets of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh to funky Manhattan noodle bars, English retailer Marks & Spencer has covered some ground in their quest for inspiration for their new Modern Asian Private Brand range.

Why Modern Asian?
The Chinese meals range that M&S currently sell, albeit hugely popular, is very traditional and largely Cantonese in influence. The new range reflects a more contemporary take on Asian food, based on current food & restaurant trends, whether it be the UK’s Busaba Eathai or Wagamama or New York’s Momofuku chain. Therefore the M&S Modern Asian range is not constrained or defined by one cuisine, rather it’s influenced by several – such as Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian – in terms of dishes, ingredients and techniques.

Prawn and Mangetout Gyoza with Ponzu Dip (£2.99), Steamed Prawn Dim Sum Selection with a Nuoc Cham Dip (£3.99), Green Thai Spiced Prawn Samosas (£2.49), Crispy Prawn Wantons (£1.99)

What inspired the line?
The myriad, vibrant flavors, textures and colors of Asian cuisine; the punchy aromatics of Thai basil, lemongrass, lime
leaves, galangal, ginger, star anise, tamarind, sichuan pepper; the fabulous Asian pantry of soy and fish sauces, mirin, sake, red and blond misos, udon and flat rice noodles, black vinegar and Shaoxing rice wine, to name but a few!

Who inspired the line?
David Chang, a Korean American genius chef in New York, an award-mongering poster boy for modern chefdom with his phenomenally successful chain of Momofuku restaurants.

What is the Modern Asian range about?
It’s 26 dishes based on a menu of exquisite handmade small and large plates of dim sum, spicy noodle bowls, aromatic bento boxes, fragrant curries, rices and a bottle of fiery sriracha sauce as the perfect dip or condiment to ‘dial up the heat’ if you like it spicier! All in single serve portions, customers can enjoy the range whether they are buying just for themselves or to mix and match with family and friends.

Dishes include:

  • The Spicy Sichuan Pork Noodles – a spicy Asian take on spaghetti bolognese!
  • The punchy Green Thai Spiced Prawn Samosas – light, crispy siu mai past
  • The moreish Spicy Peanut Chicken ‘Bento Box’ – a yummy mix of pad thai and satay chicken meets South East Asian salads.
  • The Beef Massaman Curry for its slow cooked beef and rich, fragrant coconut sauce.
  • Spicy Sichuan Minced Pork Noodles

The range launched on Monday, September 17th and the official press launch included a dim sum master class for everyone to try their hand at making these intricate little ‘parcels’.

Source: M&S Stories



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.