M&S’s food marketing director on making provenance a point of difference

Marks & Spencer’s new food campaign shines a spotlight on food standards as new food marketing boss Sharry Cramond looks to “shout louder” about the “issues customers care about”.

M&S food marketing campaign

Marks & Spencer is launching a new food campaign that puts the focus on provenance and food standards as new food marketing boss Sharry Cramond looks to “shout louder” about what makes the retailer “special”.

The campaign, created by Grey London, launches today (25 April) with a focus on its beef traceability standards. The ‘We trace it, so you can trust it’ activity, which will run across press, radio and digital, highlights the claim that M&S is the only retailer in the UK that can trace every piece of beef it sells all the way back to the farm and animal from which it is sourced.

Speaking to Marketing Week, M&S’s food marketing director Sharry Cramond says: “Since joining M&S I’ve been amazed at the stories behind our products. It’s so impressive, the lengths our people go to, to bring the best of the best to our customers. But too often in the past we’ve haven’t shouted loud enough about it. That’s going to change, I want to shine the spotlight on what makes M&S special and gives us a point of difference.”

Cramond joined M&S in January as the new food marketing boss, but following a further shake-up last week that saw the company’s executive director for marketing Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne depart, she is taking on full responsibility for marketing the food business.

And while under Bousquet-Chavanne M&S looked to more closely align its food and general merchandise businesses, this new campaign shows how the two parts of the company will now set their own marketing agendas.

READ MORE: M&S’s shake-up suggests its ‘one brand’ marketing strategy didn’t work

For Cramond, the provenance messaging is one she is looking to push year round. There are plans for further activity, although Cramond says to “watch this space” to see how the campaign evolves. 

A number of food retailers have attempted to focus on provenance but have faced difficulty in getting the message across. Waitrose, for example, has focused on its sourcing credentials while Morrisons has talked up the fact it owns more of its supply chain than most grocers.

However, Cramond believes M&S has a unique positioning in provenance because of the traceability of its product. Next month, it plans to launch an interactive supply chain map showing every single farm that supplies M&S with beef, and through DNA sampling is able to trace beef from farm to abattoir to processor to store.

I want to shine the spotlight on what makes M&S special and gives us a point of difference.

Sharry Cramond, M&S

“No other national retailer can say they can trace all their beef. We can. From our beef steaks, joints and burgers to the beef in our meals to the beef in our sandwiches. When we say all our beef, we mean absolutely all our beef – anywhere in the store. All traceable all the way back to every farm and animal it was sourced from,” explains Cramond.

M&S is hoping the campaign will help build the brand and engage colleagues as well as sell more food.

“We will, of course, be forensic in reviewing the campaign, speaking to customers and looking hard at the feedback. But, ultimately, this campaign will be judged on sales of beef products, customer understanding of the lengths we uniquely go to and our colleagues being even more proud of our fantastic food products,” she says.