M&S promises 100% vegan own-label wine by 2022

Grace Dean explores M&S's pledge to introduce an all-vegan own-label wine policy.

Grace Dean
18th November 2019
image: Kelsey Knight (unsplash)
Marks & Spencer has made a mark for itself in the grocery industry by announcing that all its own-label wines will be vegan by 2022.

Following M&S’s introduction of vegetarian-friendly wines in 1998 and vegan-friendly wines in 2005, the retail giant has gone on to now have 70% of its own-label wines certified as vegan.

Discussing the pledge, M&S Winemaker Sue Daniels says: “We’ve made this commitment as part of our overall aim to make M&S products more relevant to more customers and to take action to reflect their changing dietary demands.”

Though maybe not within the price range of most students, M&S has recently introduced a new vegan Christmas offering to the market; meal deal fanatics will be eager to try the supermarket’s Plant Kitchen Nutcracker Sandwich, which stars a sweet potato, chestnut and cranberry roast accompanied by butternut squash, cranberry chutney, pistachios, caramelised pecans and an almond butter vegan mayo dressing.

Though not a direct competitor of M&S, retail rival Spar has similarly pledged to ensure all of its own-label wine is vegan but on a much tighter timescale, as the discount chain has expressed hopes to introduce this by 2021. Similar to M&S, Spar currently lists around 70% of its own-label wines as vegan, closely followed by Waitrose at 65%. Similar emphasis on the provision of vegan and organic wines has been echoed by many major UK grocery retailers including Aldi. Of the big four, Morrisons ranks the lowest, with 63 of its 619 wines on offer online listed as vegan, which equates to barely 10%

Wine is naturally cloudy, and during the clarification process, which is known as “fining”, these animal-based ingredients are added to removes proteins, yeast and other molecules that cloud the wine.

Majestic Wine, which is the United Kingdom's largest specialist retailer of wine and coincidentally based in Gosforth, has announced that approximately 20% of its wines are currently vegan, but has revealed vegan, vegetarian and organic wines to be a key focus for its range review.

Wine traditionally includes animal-based ingredients including egg whites, milk protein, animal gelatine and isinglass, a fish bladder protein. Wine is naturally cloudy, and during the clarification process, which is known as “fining”, these animal-based ingredients are added to removes proteins, yeast and other molecules that cloud the wine. Wine can also clear naturally, but this is a much slower process and depends on the wine being left untouched for months. While these animal-based products using in the fining process are just processing agents which don’t remain in the wine, and are suitable for vegetarians, wines which have been fined using these products are deemed non-vegan.

Some fining processes, however, are vegan; carbon and clay-based fining ingredients, alongside pea protein and vegetable gelatine, are becoming increasingly popular.

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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