Marks & Spencer, popularly known as M&S, has announced plans to make all of its own brand wines vegan within the next two years.
Currently, 70% of the retail giant’s own brand wine offering is vegan, and this will rise to 100% by 2022. This is believed to be a UK first.
The announcement coincides with World Vegan Day, which is celebrated annually around the world on 1 November.
Popular vegan-friendly wines currently available at the supermarket include M&S Prosecco (£7), Chablis (£12), Vinalta Malbec (£9) and Delacourt Champagne NV (£25).
Sue Daniels, a winemaker for M&S, said in a statement: “We’ve made this commitment as part of our overall aim 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. We will be supporting the rest of our partner wineries every step of the way towards this goal.”
This follows the launch of M&S’s vegan-friendly Plant Kitchen range earlier this year, which contains over 60 products from vegan coleslaw to cauliflower popcorn bites and cashew mac & cheese.
Why not all wines are vegan
It may baffle some people that wine isn’t vegan by default, given there is no obvious animal component.
However, the reason not all wines are vegan is due to certain agents used during the winemaking process.
READ MORE: Should you go vegan for your health?
“During the winemaking process, the liquid is filtered through substances called ‘fining agents’,” explains the PETA website.
Some of these fining agents are animal derived, for instance blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), fish oil and gelatin (a protein made from boiling animal parts).
However, it is possible to make wine with animal-friendly fining agents, such as carbon, bentonite clay or silica gel.