M&S is to become first food giant to sell own-label halal ready meals at stores that attract high number of Muslim shoppers

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From the Times and taken up by the Daily Mail. Marks and Spencer (a Jewish founded firm whose clothing line branded St Michael used to be banned in Egypt and other countries of the Middle east) has lost its way in the clothing line in recent years but is expanding its food department. Their stuff is very good quality but pandering to both halal and vegan will end in tears. 

Marks & Spencer is to become the first major British retailer to sell own-brand halal ready-meals in response to the growing demand from Muslim customers.

From next week halal versions of six dishes, including chicken arrabbiata, chicken jalfrezi and chicken and mushroom tagliatelle, will be on sale in 36 stores from Bath to Wycombe Marsh.

Marks & Spencer was started more than 130 years ago when Michael Marks, a Jewish immigrant, came to the UK and moved from a market stall to set up a penny bazaar in Leeds.

The retailer now has 1,035 stores across the UK making just under £6 billion from food sales. Marks & Spencer confirmed that the animals used in its dishes were stunned before slaughter, following guidelines from the Halal Food Authority. This permits low-voltage stunning such as electrified water baths and electric tongs as long as the meat has been blessed.

At the same time, the company is trying to broaden its range to attract others who want food that meets their own ethical approach with, for example, the Plant Kitchen range catering for the increasing number of vegans.

Simon Pollitt-Khan, the M&S store manager at Temple Fortune in London, said he approached the retailer about the growing demand for halal food. He said: ‘There are still very few opportunities to eat different flavoured foods – like Italian or more traditional British dishes – in a convenient halal format.’

The retailer has worked with the poultry business 2 Sisters to isolate a production line dedicated to halal chicken.

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