How to Shop for Vegan Products in UK Supermarkets
Vegans can often be spotted in supermarkets peering intently at the ingredients list on a tin of soup or a packet of biscuits, a slight frown on their face as they try to work out whether or not the product is free of any and all animal suffering.
Checking the fine print is an inevitable part of choosing to eat vegan, but with a little practice, you’ll soon be soaring through your weekly shop, scanning labels at lightning speed and filling up your trolley with cruelty-free treats like there’s no tomorrow!
We’ve put together a few pointers about finding vegan food at some of the UK’s top supermarkets. It goes without saying that all these stores sell a huge variety of plant-based staples – including fruit, vegetables, beans, rice and other grains, pasta sauces, cereals, and much more – that vegans can enjoy. Below, we’ve noted some additional highlights.
Tesco has an impressive selection of vegan products in its “free-from” line, including cheese, yogurt, chocolate buttons, strawberry and vanilla ice cream cones, and crème caramel desserts.
The supermarket giant sells the family-friendly Plant Chef line, which features quick, microwaveable meals such as the Mushroom Cottage Pie and Butternut Cauliflower Mac. The products in its popular Wicked Kitchen range also make for perfect speedy meals. The options on offer include the Spinach and Wild Garlic Ravioli, the Spicy Mushroom & Veg Sourdough Pizza, and flavourful noodle pots like the Spicy Coconut & Rice Noodles. This line offers so much vegan goodness that it won a PETA Vegan Food Award.
The retailer offers other animal-friendly favourites, such as vegan Magnums, Follow Your Heart vegan cheese and Vegenaise mayo, and a variety of vegan meats from brands such as Beyond Meat, Fry’s, Oumph!, Linda McCartney Foods, and Vivera.
Ocado has a useful filter that allows you to search for vegan items only, making it easy to shop without having to check the ingredients. The online supermarket has a number of deals on throughout the year, so on any given day, you’ll find plenty of your favourites reduced.
You’ll come across all the usual plant-based milks, non-dairy cheeses, dairy-free ice creams and cakes, and vegan meats from Fry’s, Quorn, and Linda McCartney. Ocado also has some exciting plant-based specialities, such as croissants, Valsoia lasagne, Clive’s Pies, THIS chicken and bacon alternatives, and its own-brand vegan meats.
Iceland has the UK’s largest vegan frozen range, boasting items that are versatile, low-cost, and free of animal suffering. Look for its No Bull, No Chick, No Duck, No Lamb, and No Porkies products in store – the No Bull Burgers won a 2018 PETA Vegan Food Award for being both animal-friendly and totally delicious. The supermarket also stocks a No Cheese pizza and a vegan pastry selection that are well worth checking out.
Waitrose has some seriously tasty vegan goodies that are easy to find in its designated vegan section – it’s the first major UK supermarket to have one. You’ll find favourites such as Booja-Booja chocolate truffles, Double Chocolate Cookie non-dairy ice cream from Yorica!, Taifun marinated tofu, and the Move Over Meat Revolution Burger.
The chain’s own-brand vegan options include a vegan smoked salmon and dill sandwich, seitan burger patties, fishless goujons, “chicken” samosas, a mushroom carbonara and other ready meals, and many ingredients for whipping up your own delicious feasts.
Sainsbury’s clearly labels its own-brand products that are suitable for vegans. Among them, you’ll find some yummy treats, such as Lazy Day Foods rocky road bars in the “free-from” aisle, numerous varieties of dairy-free cheese, pizzas, vegan potato salad, and the beloved chorizo-style Plant Pioneers Shroomdogs, now also available in the Shroomdogs & Mash ready meal! The supermarket has also launched the protein-packed Beanit vegan meat range made from fava beans.
Look for the Love Your Veg! and Naturli ranges to indulge in plant-based burgers and curries and the roasted vegetable couscous salad for a meal on the go, or scout out Sophie’s Kitchen vegan shrimp and smoked salmon. The chain also carries other vegan goodies, including croissants and pain au chocolat from French company La Boulangère, Bells & Whistles’ Nut Truffle Cake Slices, Vivera’s Plant Steak, Plant Power’s Sweet N Smoky BBQ Veggie Ribs, and products from Tofurky and Fry’s.
The bags of jam and custard doughnuts in Co-op’s bakery section have long been cult favourites among vegans, while the falafel wrap, three-bean veggie chilli, veggie burgers, and “chicken” and stuffing sandwich are good lunch options. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, grab one of the snacks from its Free From range – options include a gingerbread man and a tiffin bar.
The supermarket has also launched the convenient, budget-friendly vegan GRO range. Shoppers can choose from several ready-meal options, including a katsu curry and tomato and black olive bucatini.View this post on Instagram
The launch of ASDA’s affordable Plant Based range has given vegans a whopping 48 more meal choices, which start from the fantastically low price of £1.50. You’ll find everything from a burrito packed with tofu and smoky chipotle sauce to an Asian-style warm salad with black rice. There’s also a variety of meat alternatives, like “chicken” nuggets and meatballs. The chain’s Plantivore range features vegan meals such as spaghetti carbonara with mushrooms and vegan mozzarella as well as a sweet potato katsu curry.
In its larger branches, ASDA stocks great branded products such as Violife dairy-free cheese slices, Squeaky Bean meat alternatives, and vegan items from Quorn. Among its tempting own-brand items are fruity soya yogurts, bacon-flavoured fries, and a frozen apple strudel.
Morrisons offers plenty of own-brand vegan treats. The affordable plant-based V Taste range features ready-meal options like a lentil hotpot, mushroom bolognaise, and beetroot Bourguignon. Some of our other favourites include tubs of gingerbread people in the bakery section, red velvet cupcakes, indulgent dark chocolate mint thins, No Moo-zarella sticks, and a hearty nut roast in the frozen section.
The supermarket also stocks Fry’s vegan meats – including chicken-style nuggets – Free and Easy’s “cheese” sauce mix, Linda McCartney’s pulled vegan chicken, Loma Linda’s fish-free tuna, and the well-loved Goodfella’s Vegan Stonebaked Falafel pizza.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer is home to its own vegan product range, Plant Kitchen, which includes 100 meals, snacks, and ingredients. If you’re not sure where to start with all the delicious options, we suggest you try the Smokehouse No Chicken Wrap, No Duck Spring Rolls, Cauliflower Popcorn Bites, Sweet Potato Biryani Wrap, and some of the ready meals, such as the hearty Mushroom Stroganoff.
For kids and big kids alike, Veggie Colin the Caterpillar sweets are a must. Or try the dairy-free Chocolate Cherry Dessert Pots.
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett isn’t a supermarket, but it’s still a great source of vegan delights, including PETA Vegan Food Award winner Oumph!, any vitamins or supplements you might want, and a variety of dairy-free chocolates, whole grains, nuts, and meat alternatives and ready meals.
For some savoury delights, look out for THIS bacon rashers and Fry’s soya and quinoa wellington. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, try the LoveRaw peanut butter cups (they’re palm oil–free!) and the own-brand dairy-free ice creams.
If you want to do your research and plan ahead, most supermarkets have a comprehensive list of vegan products available to download from their websites.
“May contain”–type labels can cause confusion, but they are usually added for people with severe allergies and simply indicate that the product has been manufactured in an environment where allergens are present, meaning there’s a chance that a minuscule amount could end up in the product. Most vegans are happy to eat products with “may contain milk/egg” labels.
Most non-vegan ingredients are easy to spot. However, there are a few sneaky animal-derived ones that not everyone knows about, such as the following:
– Gelatine – made from the boiled skin, tendons, and ligaments of animals
– Albumen – usually made from eggs
– Casein, lactose, and whey – these all come from milk
– Carmine and shellac – made from ground-up insects (yuck)
Why Shop Vegan?
The meat, fishing, egg, and dairy industries are a nightmare for animals, who are treated like products rather than sentient individuals who have the ability to feel pain, fear, and joy, just as we do. Learn more about the reality of animal agriculture:
Being kind to animals is simple. To help you get started with making the transition to a compassionate lifestyle, our free vegan starter kit has tips and information on going vegan – for animals, the environment, and your health. Download a copy today!
Happy vegan shopping, everyone!