Marks & Spencer Food-On-The-Move Innovation

How can you make food shopping easier for consumers on the move?

As innovation specialists for brands in crowded markets, our work with M&S and their food on the move (FOTM) proposition gave us an opportunity to go deep and really flex our innovation muscles.

M&S needed to regain their No.1 lunchtime spot by shaking things up to give customers the best possible food-to-go experience – but without meddling with their much-loved classic range like egg & watercress or prawn mayo sandwiches.

The in-store experience

We started by taking a closer look at what made customers buy. Through understanding their motivations and their real-life in-store experience, we discovered valuable human truths into what customers were looking for and what made them want to grab and go.

The lunchtime window

The way we consume food has changed tremendously over the years. Our lunchtime window is open far wider than ever, and customers want choice throughout the day. What they choose depends on many factors like a heavy night before or a skipped breakfast, so there were a number of variables we had to consider to achieve innovation success.

By speaking directly with customers and through our own wide-ranging research, we came to some enlightening conclusions:

Customers demand different choices throughout the day:

M&S’s food-to-go had been squarely aimed at lunch-timers, but our commercial insights recognised that people preferred food choices for different times of the day. Stores could create value by catering for breakfast, the journey home and dinnertime.Working closely with the M&S team we developed a new breakfast range and upgraded packaging across breakfast and sandwiches, to create inspirational products for customers.

Make it easier to grab-and-go:

Food-on-the-go is all about convenience, but in reality it doesn’t always work out that way. One shopper told us that after buying her daily M&S sandwich, she would always pop in to Pret for a snack bar. Because M&S bars couldn’t be found near her lunchtime meals, she had no way of knowing they sold a near identical product. Simply placing those snacks close to the food-on-the go section solved the problem.

We also studied in-store customer experiences in various locations, like train stations where people needed to grab and dash for their train, and how store layout and checkouts impacted the customer journey.

Customers want to feel inspired:

Lunchtime is when workers escape their desks to head out in search of some hard-earned foodie inspiration, but they also need to feel confident about the meals they pick up.

We found a way for M&S to reconnect with customers through the development of a new Food On The Move proposition, complete with a fresh set of products, packaging and in-store presentation.

We worked closely with the M&S team to strike the right balance between their more traditional classics, with inspired new products complete with irresistible new packaging (across over 100+ lines), on-shelf design and category layout.

The Results?

– Our work helped M&S reconnect with its customers and regain the No.1 position in the FOTM category.

– £30m in incremental sales per year (£4m in breakfast and £26m in snacks).

– Breakfast sales grew +115% on the previous year and sandwich sales outgrew their competitors the following year.

– M&S’s ‘snacking’ category growth has shot up to over £26m a year, (up 40% from the previous year).


Get in touch to see how we can help you make it Happen:

The result? 115% increase in breakfast revenue and 40% increase in snack purchases.