M&S Food Technology

Shop bought, not hand-made

The end of the War allowed the food business to develop further. In 1948, the M&S Food Technology Department was set up under the leadership of Nathan Goldenberg. Working with suppliers, producers and manufacturers, as well as government bodies and research institutes, one of the first things they did was to write a guide on hygienic food handling.


Simon Marks also set the department a challenge to:

'Develop a range of high quality cakes that we can be proud of and that our customers will buy. If we succeed the future of foods in the business is assured - but if we fail, the future of foods as a whole may be in doubt.'

In 1952, as a result of the research and innovation by Goldenberg's team, the first own-brand cake line - Swiss Roll - was sold under the Welbeck label, an M&S own-brand name. Swiss Rolls were a firm favourite with customers. This 1960s packaging is for chocolate covered swiss rolls.

Setting standards

As shop-bought cakes became more popular, M&S food technologists worked hard to make sure that customers received an excellent standard of cake. The factories that supplied M&S were sent detailed instructions telling them exactly how to make each type of cake. This would include pictures, diagrams and precise measurements to make sure that every single cake looked and tasted the same. The picture above shows some of the instructions for Madeira Cake.

This is a transcript of the M&S St Michael News article of 1954 about Mrs Kenway buying her first 'shop made' cake. 

Discussion and activity ideas for this resource are on the next page.

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