Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by M&S Company Archive.

This resource is part of an 'Innovation' theme intended to provide a broad picture of the development of different M&S innovations, using selected items from the M&S Company Archive collection of food packaging images. The overall aim of the Innovation related resources is to show changes in products throughout the history of the Company, and how this links to social history and world events.

Curriculum Links

  • KS2 & 3 Design & Technology

Learning Objectives

  • To learn about the innovation of food 'sell by dates'
  • To learn about food safety issues 
  • To be able to read and understand food labels

Discussion and Activity Ideas

The ideas below suggest ways in which old and new images can be used with different subjects, as prompts for discussion and extension activities.

KS2 & 3 Design & Technology:   Cooking and Nutrition

  • What different kinds of foods can we buy thanks to the innovation of chilled food?
  • Although having sell-by dates on food means that we are less likely to get food poisoning, what are some of the other advantages of food labelling?
  • Some people say there are too many different food advice labels. What do you understand by these different labels - Sell By, Use By, Best Before and Display Until? 
  • Which ones are designed mainly for the retailer and which ones for the customer?
  • What information related to food safety do you think should be on food packaging?
  • Carry out some research at home, looking in the fridge and cupboards. How many different foods have a Use By date on them?
  • Find out if food usually gets thrown out if it’s past that date, or is the date sometimes ignored?

KS2 & 3 Design & Technology

  • Design and make packaging for a food product of your choice. Think about the information you will have to include by law, but also think about the way that design, persuasive language and shape will encourage people to choose your product.
  • Reducing the amount of packaging products are sold with is becoming increasingly important to customers today. The photo of swedes on this page is a good example of improved reduced packaging. 
  • Re-design your packaging from the task above to use 30% less materials.