Launched at the end of 2020, the new vegan bacon is made with pea protein. | M&S

Vegan Fish, Chicken, and Bacon Arrive at Marks & Spencer

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has expanded its Plant Kitchen range with vegan bacon, fishless cakes, and vegan southern fried chicken.

(Updated January 8, 2021)

Back in 2018, UK retailer Marks & Spencer (referred to widely as M&S) launched its vegan Plant Kitchen range for the first time. Over the last couple of years, the chain has continued to expand the offering.

In December, it launched pea protein-based No Pork Streaky Bacon. And more recently, among many other additions, it added No Chicken Southern Fried Tenders and Melt in the Middle No Fish Cakes, also made with pea protein.

Other new options include two kinds of vegan cheese, including dairy-free feta, ready-to-eat BBQ and Piri Piri No-Chicken Pieces, a New York Pretzel Roll with No Salt Beef, and Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Wedges.

“All of our Plant Kitchen dishes have been developed with a ‘flavor-first’ mentality,” said James Fisher, Plant Kitchen’s Product Developer, in a statement.

He added that the chain has focused a lot on plant-based ingredient innovation over the last year.

“We’re super excited about our new pea protein ingredient which we have been working and experimenting for the past 12 months,” he continued. “We took it back to the kitchen and taking some of the UK’s most popular recipes to see what would work – through lots of trial and errors we found that we could replicate amazingly well.” 

Original staples of the Plant Kitchen range, like the Cauliflower Popcorn and
Cumberland-style No Pork Sausages, are also still available.

M&S’s Plant Kitchen range includes a wide range of experimental, tasty vegan products. | M&S

Supermarkets Fulfill UK Vegan Demand 

Vegan demand is soaring in the UK, and as a result, several supermarkets, including Tesco, Aldi, and Sainsbury’s, have expanded the number of plant-based food options they have on offer.

Asda recently took things one step further, with the launch of an in-store vegan butcher in its Watford location. Named Veelicious, the counter will be trialed for six months. It serves a variety of plant-based meat products, including “facon,” vegan lamb, and meatless meatballs. 

Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement: “The demand for vegan products is on the rise and we have seen a surge in people seeking out ways to easily enjoy a plant-based lifestyle.”

They added: “We recognize the importance of helping our customers with their Veganuary journey. Veelicious will be a ‘test and learn’ trial to help us understand what resonates with customers to enable us to enhance our plant-based proposition.”