The Marks & Spencer Plant Kitchen Launch
I was one of the lucky girls and boys who were invited to the launch of the mammoth new vegan product lines that have landed M&S with an award so soon in 2019.
So, what did I love? What did I not love? Now that I have finally recovered from the food coma, allow me to share all of the top recommendations from this extensive offering. Prepare those stretchy pants, because 2019 is going to be the year of the vegan food baby!
You couldn't miss this stand as the cheerful chefs were cooking up a storm and the smell was unbelievable.
There were a 3 options to choose from, 2 burgers: The 'No Beef Burger' & the 'Sweet Corn & Chickpea Burger' (both £3) and a hot dog/sausage; No Pork Sosoyges (yes that's how they are spelled!) (£3).
All of them were delicious and I would recommend trying all three of them. Word of warning, if my experience is anything to go by, keep these bad lads to yourself at BBQ's, there have been times when I have ended up missing out on my own vegan sausages & burgers because curious meat eaters want to try my vegan ones.
M&S have done such a great job on these and I just know they won't last two minutes, regardless of who is sneering at the vegan in the corner of the garden at the BBQ!
Swiping right: No Beef Burgers, Sweetcorn & Chickpea Burger, No Pork Sosoyges, No Meat Meatballs
It's great to cook your own food, and if you're anything like me, I tend to eat ready meals when I just don't have any time in the evening, working late into the early hours or after a night out, so without being invited along to try these, it would take me an age to sample them all otherwise.
I have to say, as ready meals go, there is a cracking range of products to suit all tastes. Highlights for me are definitely the new pizzas; Pulled Jackfruit and Margarita Cashew (both £3.50) Mac 'n' Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese (£3) and the Dirty Fries (£3) .
All three are well flavoured, tasty and a perfect serving for one, or great as sides for 2-3 people.
There were also 'No Chicken Nuggets' - scarily tasted like chicken and had the texture too. The Fishes Fishcakes had the texture of fish but I wasn't a fan of the taste. I know others enjoyed it though.
Grab & Go Range
Having tried the grab and go range items already, I was already familiar but very happy happy to see further additions to this line. The Sweet Potato Biryiani Wrap (£2.80) is a definite must try and the Roast Aubergine with Harissa Dressing is lovely (£3.50)
Alongside the food choices, there are also a range of plant milks available which they have stocked for some time and include Soy, Almond, Oat & Cashew
I discovered that 70% of alcohol M&S stock is vegan, this is great news and, while it's still necessary to check the label, a huge step in the right direction.
The vegan range includes: Beers, Wines and Prosecco and a lovely range of spirits and ready mixed cocktails such as a delicious and very creamy Pina Colada!
My M&S Faves
One of the take-aways from the event was that, although I was asked by M&S to share my #mymarksfave, it was honestly impossible to pick one thing! I also couldn't possible try everything as, even though I was asking for small bites of the options, I was simply to full from it all. So I have narrowed it down to my 5 faves instead which I implore you to try, if you haven't already!
1- Cashew Mac 'n' Cheese
2- Pulled Jackfruit Pizza (make sure you crisp up the top as it is much better slightly overdone)
3- No Pork Sosoyges (yes I spelled that correctly)
4- Potato Salad
5- Spaghetti Bolognese
Firstly I would like to add, that for the last few years, I haven't shared a great amount of content as far as M&S goes.
Even with the new 60-item vegan launch, I think there is still some way to go in terms of labelling and allergen information as it seems a lot of their items do not cater for customers who have gluten intolerances, the other issue is the sheer amount of plastic used for the containers.
There is a lot of impetus on reducing single use plastic, and this could put a lot of shoppers off in a bid to cut down, and supermarkets must take action on this as soon as possible. Now that our supermarkets have recognised the need to offer plant based options, a huge step in the battle to repair our planet from the sheer devastation meat and dairy based diets are causing, the inevitable next battle must be plastic waste.
Which supermarket will be the first to fight in the war against plastic? Answers on a biodegradable postcard.
With this worry in the back of my mind, I can't help but feel proud that the vegan community has stood strong enough to be heard and given that a vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce the harm we have caused Earth, I am so thrilled to see that this has translated into delicious options available on our high streets, and its only going to continue?
A huge thank you to Marks and Spencers for the invitation to try out their new range, and I look forward to seeing the vegan food market expand further and, let's hope, we can influence more sustainable packaging to go alongside it.
Click to see the pics from the night!
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