MARKS & SPENCER (M&S) is set to become the first major British food retailer to launch its own range of halal ready-meals.
The latest move by the company has come in response to the growing demand from Muslim customers in the UK.
Next Wednesday (6) onwards, customers will be able to shop for halal versions of six dishes across 36 selected M&S stores from Bath to Wycombe Marsh.
The list of six dishes include: Chicken arrabbiata, chicken and mushroom tagliatelle, chicken and leek bake, chicken hotpot, chicken jalfrezi, and chicken tikka masala.
The new halal-prepared meal range will help M&S to deliver a better-localised offer in 36 M&S food stores across the UK.
It will also be sold by M&S’ international franchise partner Al-Futtaim in other markets, including Singapore and Dubai.
Stuart Machin, Managing Director of M&S Food, said: “…M&S Food is changing to become more relevant, more often to families across Britain, and our new halal meal range is a great example of how we are broadening appeal so that more customers can enjoy our delicious, quality food.”
Colleagues across M&S that follow a halal diet have been instrumental in driving the development of the range.
The employees said that there was a contemporary generation of British Muslims who wanted favourable meal options without always having to resort to vegetarian ranges.
Simon Pollitt Khan, a store manager at the M&S Temple Fortune branch in north west London, said he approached the company about the growing demand for halal food.
“Whilst some major retailers are starting to stock halal meat, there are still very few opportunities to eat different flavour foods – such as Italian or more traditional British dishes – in a convenient halal format,” he said.
Marks & Spencer started over 130 years ago. It now has 1,035 stores across the UK earning just under £6 billion from food sales.
“…Customers will be able shop a range of six Halal Food Authority (HFA) certified prepared meal across 36 selected M&S stores. M&S food technologists and its product development team have worked with HFA and M&S suppliers to deliver Halal certified versions of its prepared meals”, the company said in a statement.
The new M&S halal-prepared meal range has a distinctive orange packaging design and logo.
Earlier this year, M&S began stocking a range of Shazans-branded halal chicken products in selected stores and has seen a strong response from local customers.
In the last 12 months, M&S has launched a series of new ranges that have made a commercial impact, such as its plant kitchen range.
In September, M&S also launched Cook With – a range of over 100 time-saving ingredients that make it easier to serve a quick dinner.