A British food retailer has the world wondering what in God’s name is a ‘sweet potato Biryani wrap’.
Fusion foods can be amazing. When not done right its just confusion (get it?). That’s what a retail giant in Britain did, or maybe it’s just ‘lazy product development’.
I wouldn't call it appropriation but a biryani in a wrap is the idea of a marketing person who needs a long holiday to restore some creative juices.
— Emmet Ryan is pondering (@emmetjryan) January 30, 2019
Biryani in a Sweet Potato Wrap?????
As much as we love biryani and as much as we love wraps (separately), the two of them do not go together. A vegetable wrap would have been better but this is just next level eww.
And to make matters worst, Marks Spencer, the British food retailer, thought they could get away with the ‘South Asian’ branding. Smells like cultural appropriation innit?
Leading South Asian food experts in the United Kingdom straight up said that this is ‘lazy product development’
Sweet Potato Biryani Wrap: The Controversy
The brand M&S(Mark & Spencer) introduced this wrap as a part of its Plant Kitchen range.
Biryani is a rice dish, why would you add bread to it. People question why would you call a sandwich wrap Biryani? That’s using words with a product that isn’t even related.
Desi food experts got to roasting.
Absolutely love this! You are completely right. Biryani is all about rice (and for me chicken!) and not sweet potato in a wrap!! X
— Reena Patel-Jackson (@ReenaP86) January 30, 2019
M&S Has Pulled This Before as Well
Mallika Basu, UK-based author of Masala: Indian Cooking for Modern Living also had a lot to say about this incident. This isn’t the first time she called out the brand for cultural appropriation. She’s wasn’t too happy about M&S ‘Punjabi Pulao kit‘ from their curry kits line.
“I started the row last year with the ridiculous Bengali Turmeric Kit by M&S so it’s good to see more food writers and chefs getting involved in this debate.”
Rather chuffed from a sunny balcony in Calcutta to see the nonsense ethnic product row I started in August last year continues to gather pace #DoYourResearchPeople @thetimes pic.twitter.com/mOwJRRDw4v
— ✨ Mallika Basu ✨ (@MallikaBasu_) January 30, 2019
Others joined her in calling out the cultural appropriation.
Sweet potato biryani wrap @marksandspencer 🤯sort it out guys at M&S. England is full of people from Indian subcontinent I’m sure you have someone from this origine who could advise you on how people eat biryani. Biryani is not just food to us it’s a heritage
— Manish Raval (@MrUKDeshi) January 30, 2019
Social Media Reacts
Those outraged by the food combo took to social media to call out the brand on this…..whatever this is.
Thanks but I like my Biryani with rice in a bowl not a wrap. Seriously M&S!? pic.twitter.com/XAqNfoUsN9
— Maunika Gowardhan (@cookinacurry) January 24, 2019
I agree. 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!?! 😒
— Abida Khan (@AbidaNKhan) January 25, 2019
And biryani can now be eaten wrapped in shakarand ki roti
"…the Mughal era dish and offering what it calls 'sweet potato biriyani wrap', described as 'fragrant sweet potato, basmati rice and buckwheat with a fresh kachumber salad and mango chutney, in a wholemeal roti wrap” pic.twitter.com/l9V62OW7TW
— Sanobar (@SanobarFatma) January 31, 2019
Some people put out good suggestions.
M&S 'biryani' wrap causes controversy – Just sell English food…simples
— UncT Bs (@UncT127) January 31, 2019
Some people still didn’t understand the issue. You do not call a spade a falcon.
I totally agree – I don’t see an issue here either. It’s a biryani wrap on the go! It has got rice in it by the way…
It’s like me saying there’s no meat 🍖 in my ‘BBQ flavoured sauce’ 🙄
— 🦁🇬🇧SinghSational🇰🇪🦁 (@5INGH54TION4L) January 29, 2019
@1Xtra Marks and Sparks selling a Biryani Wrap.. so what.. why didnt people complain when Chicken Tikka got put on Pizza?
— Breaking Bread Rochester (@BreakingBreadR) January 30, 2019
Why can't people see #CulturalAppropriation as #CulturalAppreciation instead? Whether it be food, clothing etc?? I make my own curries – am I a culturally appropriating too? #JustSaying… https://t.co/FDIbsdFUll via @yahooNewsUK
— Susan Sutton #TalkSusan Radio Show (@SusanSuttonACT) January 30, 2019
In a world where we have Chinese fortune cookies that the Chinese didn’t invent, pizza with ketchup and other such bizarre mashups that have nothing to do with their origins, sweet potato Biryani wrap needs to be called out for what it is – fake biryani.