M&S and Spar own label wine ranges to go 100% vegan

UK retailers M&S and Spar have both announced all their own-brand wines will become vegan within the next three years, as the trend for veganism gathers pace.

Currently, around 70% of both retailers’ own label wine ranges are vegan-friendly, but both said they were working with suppliers to boost this to 100%.

M&S is aiming to complete this by 2022, but the Spar is looking at an earlier deadline of 2021.

The convenience retailer has launched a specific vegan wine range, that is says will make it easier to pick up a bottle of vegan-friendly wine locally. The new Vine & Bloom, which is available national, comprises three skus, a Pinot Grigio, Merlot and a Rose that retails for £6.50.

In a statement to Vegan Food & Living, Spar’s resident MW Philippa Carr, said the retailer was seeing more and more producers taking note of the changing consumer trends and retailer was currently working closely with suppliers to convert all its own-label wines to be vegan-friendly from 2021 onwards.

This primarily involves winemakers switching from animal-based fining products that filter wines and improve the clarity such as egg whites, milk protein, casein and animal gelatine and isinglass, which is extracted from the swim bladders of fish, to vegan-friendly alternatives, such as pea protein, potatoes and carbon and clay-based agents.

Other changes include modifying vine management and winemaking techniques to ensure the wines are suitable for consumers following a vegan-based diet

M&S winemaker Sue Daniels said the move formed part of a wider commitment to make M&S products “more relevant to more customers and to take action to reflect their changing dietary demands”.

“Obviously, such a large-scale commitment isn’t without its challenges – however we have been working on alternatives with winemakers for several years and have already seen radical changes in more traditional areas such as France and Spain,” she said.

“We will be supporting the rest of our partner wineries every step of the way towards this goal.”

Growing trend

Speaking to the drinks business in March this year, Aldi’s wine buyer at the time, Mike James, said the growing interest in wines that are ‘good-for-you, good-for-the-environment’ such as vegan and organic was creating an exciting opportunity for wine retailers to open up the category.

“Whether its organic or vegan wines, suddenly everything is up for grabs,” he told db at the time. “It is really exciting for a supermarket to be able to realise.”

Specialist retailer Majestic, which added vegan and vegetarian symbols to its wine labels and on its website in October 2017, currently lists 61 vegan wines on its website – including four in its Definition range, up from 32 in January 2018.

Last year the Coop unveiled ambitious plans to increase its vegan wine range to around 100 labels by the end of 2018, saying it was anticipating vegan wines “picking up momentum” across mainstream retail.

M&S first labelled wines as ‘suitable for vegetarians’ back in 1998, and added ‘suitable for vegans’ on products in 2005, it said.

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