Never before has there been such an incredible range of vegan food options available, in such a wide variety of shops. The supermarkets are now falling over themselves, competing to produce the most creative and widest range of plant-based options. As a result, veganism has never been easier or more accessible; no matter what your budget. When starting out, it’s always helpful to get the low-down on where and how to shop vegan so here is our beginners’ guide to vegan food shopping.
The supermarkets now all have excellent vegan options and there are dedicated sections to plant-based living. You’ll generally find a couple of chilled free-from sections; one which will contain vegan cheese, yoghurt, desserts (eg Gü, Coconut Collaborative) etc, and another which will contain things like tofu, fresh vegan mince, burgers, sausages, ready meals and lots of other meat-free options.
There will also be a dry free-from section in all supermarkets which focuses on gluten-free items but includes vegan products too. Look out for parmesan-free pesto, biscuits, desserts, energy bars, cereal, porridge, chocolate, sweets, crackers, cream, long life silken tofu, plant milk.
There are always a couple of sections in the frozen isles dedicated to meat-free ranges too. Look out for frozen vegan mince, burgers, sausages, ready meals, pizza, bites, sausage rolls, roasts, pies and other mock meats. You’ll find vegan ice creams, desserts and sorbets in the frozen desserts section too.
There is nearly always a chilled section for fresh plant milks such as soya (next to the cows’ milk) and a dry section for long life plant milk (soya, oat, almond etc) – which is cheaper and just as good (next to UHT cows’ milk). Most supermarkets have a really wide range now and this is growing all the time. See our top plant milk picks for inspiration.
All supermarkets now either already have comprehensive vegan labelling systems for their products, or have committed to labelling all their vegan items in the near future. This makes life much easier as it means avoiding reading extensive ingredient lists. You can also search for most supermarket vegan ranges online now to see what they have available ahead of time. We’ve listed website information below.
Aldi has just extended its vegan range and now offers a selection of chilled and frozen options; including their extremely popular plant-based pizzas. As expected, their items are great if you’re on a budget and the Aldi soya milk is the cheapest going at 59p per litre!
Go to aldi.co.uk and type ‘vegan’ into the search bar. This provides a comprehensive guide plus product list.
Asda has an extensive range of vegan products in both the mainstream brands and also their own brand products, including vegan cheese, yoghurt, cereal, pizza, chilli and lots more. Items are generally priced slightly lower than Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Oh and don’t forget you can buy Applewood vegan cheese here!
Type ‘vegan’ into the search bar on asda.com for a comprehensive list.
Coop’s vegan range started off small and is gradually increasing all the time. They now have their own plant-based range called GRO which has some great offerings such as sausages, burgers, nachos, meatballs, other meat alternatives, ready meals and desserts.
Go to coop.co.uk/products/vegan for a list of products
Iceland is great for budget options and they now have an extensive vegan range including their really popular No Bull Burgers and No Chick Fillets. They also often have lots of other items including mainstream brands (eg Linda McCartney), and a selection of ready meals.
Go to iceland.co.uk and type ‘vegan’ into the search bar. This provides a comprehensive product list.
We’re hoping that Lidl will expand their vegan range but you can currently get cheap veg, tins, dried goods, peanut butter, jams, antipasti etc. They also offer their own brand soya yoghurt, burgers, mince and Linda McCartney sausages.
Go to lidl.co.uk/our-products/free-from/vegan for a list of products.
M&S have an excellent range of vegan options which are very good quality. Their Plant Kitchen options include ready meals, sushi, burgers, salads, sausages, sandwiches, ice creams, plant milks, pizza, curry and stroganoff. We also need to give a special mention to the No-Chicken Kievs and the No-Duck Spring Rolls! They are incredible.
See marksandspencer/c/food-to-order and type in ‘vegan’ to see some of their offerings.
Online supermarket Ocado has an incredible range of vegan products; including both mainstream and more niche items.
Go to ocado.com and type ‘vegan’ into the search bar to see their full list of products.
Sainsbury’s has an excellent, extensive vegan range which is growing all the time. They have a wide array of mainstream brands and also their own brand products which are pretty consistently and clearly labelled vegan. Check out their Love Your Veg, Plant Pioneers and Free-from ranges for high quality plant-based options. They also sell the extensive chilled range Vivera which has lots of fresh mock meat and ready meal options.
Go to sainsburys.co.uk and type in ‘vegan’ to see the full range of products.
Tesco has a really good, extensive range of vegan items which is growing all the time. Vegan Chef Derek Sarno is the co-founder of the Wicked Kitchen range at Tesco which consists of really tasty ready meals, pizzas, desserts, burgers, sandwiches, meat alternatives, salads and take away (sandwiches, wraps, snacks, light bites, desserts, cakes).
Go to tesco.com and type in ‘vegan’ for a list of suitable products.
Waitrose have some delicious vegan options including some of the mainstream brands and also their own brand products. There is a good selection of delicious and indulgent items with clearly marked vegan sections.
Go to waitrose.com and type in ‘vegan’ for a list of products.
You’ll find independent health food shops in most major towns and cities. It’s great to support these shops wherever possible and they’re not necessarily more expensive than the supermarkets. There is often a discount section so you can also pick up bargains here too. You’ll find an excellent range of vegan products, including niche and specialist items. You will also be able to get more organic products and usually more diverse options than in the supermarkets. Most health food shops offer an ordering service too, so if you can’t find the product you want then they may well be able to order it in for you.
You’re also able to get vitamin/mineral supplements, chocolate, sweets, tea, spices, plant milks, flours (including specialist flours such as vital gluten and gluten-free), pulses, cereals, oils, pasta, juices, tins and condiments. Many shops also stock fresh items (eg locally-made bread, cakes, pasties, other snacks, organic/local veg), vegan cheese, yoghurt, cream, pies, fermented foods, gluten-free products, diabetic products, sugar-free items, vegan/cruelty-free cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products.
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett is very useful as these shops appear in most towns and city centres. Here you’ll find vitamin/mineral supplements, protein powders (for those bulking up), nuts, seeds, vegan frozen and chilled food products (eg burgers, mince, snacks, cheese, yoghurt etc), dry cupboard staples, chocolate, sweets, toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products.
Go to hollandandbarrett.com for a full list of products.
If you’re looking to reduce your plastic consumption/waste then these are the shops for you! Zero waste shops are popping up all over now, especially in major cities and large towns. Here you can get nuts, seeds, pulses, flour, pasta, grains, cereals, herbs, spices, tea, coffee, oil, nut butters, dried fruit, nutritional yeast, toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning products, sanitary products and tooth brushes. Paper bags are usually provided but it’s better to bring your own containers, get them weighed, then fill up with the item of your choice.
If you’re lucky enough to have an Asian supermarket near you then you’ll usually find an array of cheap herbs and spices, grains, fresh tofu, frozen tofu puffs (great for adding to stir fries and they heat up in minutes), bean curd skin, seaweed, sushi ingredients, veg dumplings (check they’re vegan), bao buns (check they’re vegan), kimchi, miso paste, tinned jackfruit, tinned banana blossom, dried shiitake mushrooms, tamari, tinned mock meats (nicer than they sound!), vegan shrimp and lots more.
There are more and more vegan-friendly online shops popping up all the time and it can be a great way of getting mainstream and niche products delivered to your door. Here are a few of our favourites:
The Viva! Shop
All vegan and sells an excellent selection of confectionary, books, clothing, wall charts and nutritional information, recipe guides, leaflets, posters, gifts, accessories, homewares, wine and more. We are a charity and buying from our shop supports our campaigns.
All vegan and sells a great array of mainstream and niche vegan products. You’ll find vegan breads and bakery items, egg alternatives, mock meats and seafood, milk and butter replacements, kitchen cupboard items, ready-mades, snacks/confectionary, household goods and gifts.
An all-vegan online shop which sells a nice selection of healthcare and beauty products, confectionary, vegan egg, dairy alternatives, mock meats, ready meals, sauces, dressings, desserts, biscuits and cakes.
Another all-vegan shop which sells a really good selection of products including shoes, health and beauty items, household, gifts, pet, chilled and frozen foods, ready meals, dairy alternatives, mock meats, tofu, egg replacers and confectionary.
An incredibly extensive selection of vegan products including groceries, health and beauty products, household goods, pet items, cleaning products, food storage, home fermenting products, vitamin/mineral supplements, books, fitness products and lots more.
Not only are vegan festivals a great way of connecting with other vegans, hearing amazing talks and watching interactive cookery demonstrations, they’re also a fantastic place to shop! Try new products, buy homemade foods, clothing, beauty products, household items, pet foods and toys, gifts and lots more.