Marks & Spencer faces backlash from top chef over Indian-themed vegan wrap

marks spencer
(Image credit: Patch Dolan)

Marks & Spencer has come under fire over their new Indian-themed vegan wrap.

As part of their new vegan range named Plant Kitchen (which includes a vegan-friendly coleslaw (opens in new tab) that shoppers have gone crazy for), the high-street food store introduced a Sweet Potato Biryani Wrap earlier this month.

However, critics have taken to Twitter to accuse the high-end retailer, who recently disappointed fans with a controversial decision (opens in new tab), of cultural appropriation after a top Indian chef and Indian restaurant both pointed out that the meal is not a biryani at all.

Marks & Spencer’s description of the wrap in question reads: ‘Fragrant sweet potato, basmati rice and buckwheat with a fresh kachumber salad and mango chutney, in a wholemeal roti wrap’.

But Twitter users went on to point out that traditional Indian biryani is actually rice dish, rather than a flavour that can be used in another type of dish.

‘Thanks but I like my Biryani with rice in a bowl not a wrap,’ wrote well-known chef Maunika Gowardhan. ‘Seriously M&S!?’

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‘In India firstly there is no such thing as a veg Biryani. Most places will serve mutton or chicken or even fish.’

‘It’s wrong on many levels when people will assume this is what a Biryani looks like!’

Other Twitter users followed her sentiment, writing: ‘Maybe they’re not sure what biriyani is, or they’ve made a new meaning for it’ and ‘Firstly it’s not biryani if it comes in a wrap and secondly it has sweet potatoes in it! Who puts sweet potatoes in biryani!?!’

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While another angry internet user wrote: ‘Omg what is wrong with M&S!!’

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One perplexed consumer tweeted: ‘@marksandspencer tbh I’m just confused... What part of this is biryani? Biryani is a rice based dish, traditionally with meat that most certainly doesn’t have sweet potato, so it’s not right on any level???’

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While one person accused the supermarket of cultural appropriation for the their use of the product description.

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Top London restaurant Darjeeling Express also joined in the discussion, writing: ‘This is so wrong at SO many levels- who are you paying to design your wraps @marksandspencer? You seriously need to rethink your “exotic” wrap selection. That is not Biryani-you do not appropriate names from a cuisine without even bothering to do any research on that dish.’

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‘M&S is famous for its food innovation,’ a Marks & Spencer spokeswoman told the Metro, ‘Our developers use a fusion of different flavours and ingredients to create an exciting range of products to appeal to customers’ tastes.’