Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

A Snapshot of M&S Food Through Time

The images in this resource represent a snapshot of how food has been developed at M&S over the years - some of the highlights are listed below and you can download the full timeline (in either PowerPoint or PDF format) from the 'Resources' section.

1884 - Penny Bazaars sell basic food items, such as flour, spices and confectionery
Photo of a very crowded shop display in an indoor market
M&S Penny Bazaar pre-1901
1935 - Marks & Spencer Cafe Bars open in a selection of stores
Photo of a long bar with a row of stools beside it
M&S Watford Café Bar 1930s
1948 - Self-service food shopping was introduced, and it completely revolutionised food retail spaces, with customers selecting their own food from open shelving
A blue leaflet explaining to customers how the new way of shopping will work
M&S Self-Service Leaflet 1948
1960s/1970s - Technology comes to the forefront, with fresh chilled chicken going on sale in newly installed chilled cabinets, and a range of frozen foods being developed
A freezer unit inside a supermarket with convenience food in tins and packets next to it
M&S Convenience Food 1974
1972 - 'Sell-by' dates added to food wrappers. These are adopted by other retailers and eventually become a legal requirement
1974 - Foil-wrapped, boil-in-the-bag, 'convenience foods' such as Ravioli, are introduced - a radical alternative to frozen or canned meals
Bag containing ravioli in cheese sauce with ham with a picture of ravioli on the front
M&S Ravioli Meal 1973
1993 - Percy Pigs launched (over one billion have now been sold)
Pink plastic packet containing percy pig sweets
M&S Percy Pig Sweets
2004 - The first 'this is not just food' television advert is aired, and one of the most iconic adverts from this campaign featured the Melt in the Middle Chocolate Pudding.
Photo of a chocolate pudding with the melting middle spilling out
M&S Melting Middle Chocolate Pudding


Confectionery - food items such as sweets, cakes and chocolates
Iconic - very famous or popular
Radical - very new and different from what is ordinary
Revolutionised -   changed something in a big way