Marks & Spencer

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

Marks & Spencer Sainsbury Tesco

British Private Brands Win International Wine Challenge


Over the last few years British supermarkets have placed an increasing emphasis on their Private Brand wines and have gradually gained credibility after demonstrating a continuing commitment and winning a number of prestigious award

\"\"British grocers won nine of the 41 awards given to supermarkets in the International Wine Challenge (IWC), with Tesco taking the top title for wine supermarket of the year. A team of world-renowned wine experts working with 400 judges lead the IWC. Each gold medal-winning wine is blind tasted at least three and up to six times.

Tesco Private Brand wines received three awards in the Great Value Champion awards including Tesco Finest Pouilly Fumé, Fournier Père et Fils (Great Value Champion White); Tesco Finest Gigondas 2010, Vignobles La Coterie (Great Value Champion Red) and Tesco Finest Sauternes 2009, Yvon Mau (Great Value Sweet Wine).

When accepting the award for overall supermarket of the year winner, Dan Javo, category director for beers, wines and spirits at Tesco said: \”Fundamentally it is all about customers. We spend a lot of time trying to understand what they want and make sure that we are able to do it.

\”But you can\’t always follow the customer 100% of the time – sometimes you\’ve got to lead.\”

Marks & Spencer won the own label range of the year award and Innovator of the Year, as well as the great value rosé category for Le Froglet Rosé 2011. Sainsbury\’s won the Fairtrade award for its Taste the Difference Chenin Blanc 2011. Co-chairman Charles Metcalfe said: \”IWC medals help to take the risks out of buying wine and point consumers towards quality wines at all prices and in all styles.\”

Marks & Spencer

M&S Launches Exclusive Private Brand Mango Flavored Grapes!

\"\"Just when you thought you’d seen it all, English premium retailer M&S has launched an exclusive new variety of grape that tastes like a mango! As a part of their new ‘Tutti Frutti’ Private Brand of grapes, the grapes are a seedless, part-red variety with large berries and a distinctly tropical flavor. Retailers and Private Brand managers often talk about differentiation and uniqueness however they rarely execute instead opting to \”launch\” bigger pack sizes or insignificant flavor variations – this is true ownable innovation and is very cool, BRAVO!

\"\"M&S worked closely with grape grower, Enrique Moya, who has been growing table grapes since 1995 and supplying the retailer since 2003. His farms are located in and around the village of Totana near Murcia in southeast Spain. The region is perfect for growing excellent quality seedless grapes due to the warm, dry Mediterranean climate with long sunny days, which helps the grapes to develop extra sweetness and a full, rich flavor, together with cooler night temperatures, which helps to give the grapes a firm, crunchy texture

M&S Grape Product Developer Zeina Orfali explains: “Being super sweet, we think the grapes will be a big hit with children – and big kids who are topping up their 5-a-day. And at only £1.50 a punnet, they’re an affordable healthy snack”

“We work closely with our growers to bring customers new and exciting flavors – the first trials of these grapes were back in 2007, and we’re delighted with the fruits of our labor!”

Breeding new grape varieties is a very long-term business. It can take over 10 years before a new grape variety reaches the shelves. We’ve been working closely with growers and grape breeding companies around the world to bring exceptional new varieties to our customers.

Tutti Frutti grapes are on sale throughout August and September, from Friday 10th August in 200 stores at only £1.50 for 230g.

Source: M&S Stories

Marks & Spencer

M&S Awarded 12 Medals at The International Beer Challenge

\"\"British premium retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) was awarded 12 medals at this year’s International Beer Challenge. Our wins include seven bronzes, three silvers and an impressive two golds – one of which was awarded to the Sandringham Estate Diamond Ale, which was made by blending pale ale malt from the Sandringham Estate with an English Hop that was bred a decade ago to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Below are a selection of some of the newest beers that won medals at this year’s Beer Challenge, all of which are a result of M&S teaming up with regional brewers to launch a range of specialty British beers…M&S even added Union Jack bottle tops.

Sandringham Diamond Ale: GOLD MEDAL
Case of 20: £51.80
Per Bottle: £2.59
Elgoods Brewery, in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens, has been in the Elgood family since 1878. To make this special celebration ale, we’ve used fittingly special ingredients: pale ale malt from barley grown on the Sandringham Estate (the variety of barley is called Westminster), together with an English hop variety called Sovereign that was bred a decade ago to mark the Queen’s golden jubilee. This refreshing golden ale goes very well with light summery dishes like chicken or fish, and would be perfect at a barbecue.

Bottle Conditioned Cornish Ale: GOLD MEDAL
Case of 20: £45.80
Per Bottle: £2.29
Everyone loves the current Cornish IPA, so we decided to take a second beer from the St Austell brewery.  As delicious as the IPA, but a very different style of beer. This bottle conditioned ale has been uniquely brewed using locally grown Cornish gold malt, traditionally malted using a special kilning process to develop a deep bronze color and intense flavor. The sweet, lightly nutty malt balances well with zesty orange and spicy aromas from the hops.   This beer works very well with traditional favorites like cottage pie or fisherman’s pie  – or tries it with a roast chicken dinner.

On the front label we have used the traditional fishing boats, known as luggers that were once a common sight along the coast of Cornwall.

Greenwich Red Ale: SILVER MEDAL
Case of 6: £29.94
Per Bottle: £4.99
We have launched a larger, sharing bottle of Greenwich Red Ale from the Meantime brewery. Perfect to share with friends and family over a BBQ.  On the front label there is an image of the Red Time ball on top of Flamsteed House, at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which is one of the world’s earliest public time signals and is still in operation today.

This red ale has been brewed using crystal malts and caramel malts to create its distinctive deep copper red color and medium body. Its sweet maltiness is perfectly balanced by the refreshing fruitiness from 5 different types of hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State. This well-balanced beer goes well with everything from fish dishes through to meaty casseroles, and is also very refreshing enjoyed on its own.

Southwold Blonde Beer: BRONZE MEDAL
Case of 20: £43.40
Per Bottle: £2.19
A fantastic refreshing citrus summer beer from the Adnams Brewery in Southwold Suffolk. Created by Adnams’ Master Brewer, this pale yet full flavored beer is made using a blend of East Anglian malted barley and wheat. Boadicea and First Gold hops from England, and Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand combine to create the subtle citrus notes and refreshing flavour. Delicious chilled on its own, this refreshing citrusy beer also works well with chicken and seafood, salads, or lightly spiced dishes.

Somerset Ginger Beer: BRONZE MEDAL
Case of 20: £43.80
Per Bottle: £2.19
A new beer from a new brewery to Marks & Spencer, Bath Ales. The design of this label is focused around Bath stone, which was used extensively during the Georgian era, the elegant building represents the striking symmetrical architecture typical of the period. This light and refreshing ginger beer is brewed with a blend of amber, pale and chocolate malts, nugget and brambling cross hops. Grated root ginger is added to the beer when brewing, resulting in a balanced, full-bodied beer with a subtle lingering spicy finish. This beer goes well with fragrant Asian dishes such as sushi or a Thai curry. It’s also perfect with barbecued meats or simply as a refreshing thirst quencher.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer Launches Private Brand Bank

\"\"Early last week English retailer Marks & Spencer unveiled the first branch of its flagship M&S Bank. The opening It signals the start of a nationwide opening of 50 Private Brand M&S Bank branches, as well as the launch of pre-registration for the forthcoming M&S Premium Current Accounts.

The Marble Arch branch offers a preview of what it will be like to bank with M&S Bank. Customers can pop in to take a look at the branch and meet M&S Bank Manager Louise Evans and her team.
As well as internet banking and 24-hour current account support from a UK-based customer service team, branches are open when M&S stores are open – including evenings and weekends. To cut down on lines, a pager service alerts customers as soon as an assistant is free, so they may continue to shop.

In store branch locations will include: Handforth; Bromley; Glasgow Argyle Street; Meadowhall; Pudsey; Aberdeen; the Gyle; Manchester; Culverhouse Cross; Cribbs Causeway; Birmingham; Gemini; Metro; Hedge End and Bluewater.