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From Heinz Tomato Ketchup to Mr Kipling Treacle Tart, here are some supermarket favourites that are the perfect foods for vegans.
Following a strict vegan diet can be challenging at times, especially when it comes to shop-bought, readymade foods. Some foods you assume are vegan, can actually be non-vegan containing animal-based ingredients such as milk powder often found in different types of bread or crisps for example.
And of course, it’s not just about animal-based ingredients, it’s also about how the product has been produced. For example, the ‘is honey vegan?’ debate, raises concerns that the production of honey impacts bees health and exploits them for human benefits according to The Vegan Society, which therefore makes it non-vegan produce. Then there are products that are surprisingly vegan-friendly including Oreos, Colman’s mustard and Warburtons crumpets. All in all, it can often be hard to differentiate between vegan and non-vegan foods.
Registered Dietician, Lisa Simon adds; “There are a number of ways to tell whether a food is vegan friendly. If you are buying from the ‘free from’ aisle, it will be clearly stated on the label whether the product is egg and dairy-free. Do be aware that gluten-free products can also be found in these aisles and these are not necessarily vegan. Some vegetarian products are suitable for vegans, but check the ingredients as all allergens e.g. milk and egg, will be highlighted in bold. Some ingredients are harder to decipher, especially if written as an E-number. Keep an eye out for ingredients such as cochineal or carmine, gelatine, beeswax, shellac, lanolin, bone phosphate and animal-derived glycerol as these are all non-vegan.”
Foods for vegans
There are quite an array of condiments that are actually suitable for vegans including Tabasco sauce and HP Brown sauce. By far our favourite is Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise made specifically for vegans. This popular mayo first hit supermarket shelves in America in 2016. It’s the perfect vegan alternative to mayonnaise made with rapeseed oil, mustard, lemon juice and a handful of other very clever, vegan-friendly ingredients.
Registered Dietician at Plant Based Health Professionals, Lisa Simon adds; “To make this condiment vegan-friendly, the egg is removed and oil, which is the predominant ingredient in both vegan and non-vegan mayonnaise and is used as an emulsifier to allow it to thicken. Vegan mayonnaise can be used as a dip for sweet potato wedges, garlic can be chopped finely and added to it to make aioli, or as a dressing for potato salad.”
- Heinz Tomato Ketchup, 910g, £2.80 VIEW AT TESCO
- Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise, 270g, £2.15 VIEW AT TESCO
- Tabasco Original Red Hot Pepper Sauce, 57ml, £2.10 VIEW AT TESCO
- Thai Dragon Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce, 455ml, £1.99 VIEW AT TESCO
- Amoy Dark Soy Sauce, 150ml, £1.40 VIEW AT TESCO
- HP Brown Sauce Bottle, 255g, £1 VIEW AT TESCO
- Colman’s Original English Mustard, 170g, £1.40 VIEW AT TESCO
Most of the big-name fizzy drinks available in supermarkets are vegan-friendly, with just a few exceptions, namely Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora and Schweppes Orange Squash, which all potentially carry traces of fish gelatin. As fish gelatin is a common ingredient in squashes or fizzy drinks, milk powder is often found in powdered drinks like hot chocolate.
Lisa says; “It is easy to assume that all orange juice is vegan. However, certain brands are fortified with vitamin D and sometimes omega-3. Although D2 is plant-derived, the most easily absorbed form is vitamin D3 and this is used for fortification. It is generally sourced from sheep’s wool or fish oils, although it can be made synthetically. Omega-3 is also usually sourced from fish oil. To ensure your orange juice is vegan, opt for brands which contain 100% pure orange juice.”
Cheese is one of the things often cited by new vegans as something that they really miss. While the traditional milk-based cheeses are not an option, there are plenty of alternatives including Free From selections from Tesco and Violife classic vegan cheese. Most vegan cheeses are made with water and coconut oil, meaning they contain much less fat and calories than regular cheese. Vegan cheese is however low in calcium and protein.
“There is a wide range of cheeses on the market, but some are healthier than others. Cheeses such as Violife and Supermarket’s ‘free from’ varieties are made predominantly from coconut oil in place of dairy which is actually higher in saturated fat than lard. Nush cream cheese is made from almonds and also contains live cultures. These options are higher in protein, replacing the protein contained in dairy cheeses. Unfortunately, they are not suitable for those with nut allergies, but there are also seed-based cheeses that can be purchased online, or in some health food stores, and Oatly have recently brought out a cream cheese free from nuts,” comment Lisa.
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Cheddar-Style Coconut Based Alternative To Cheese, 200g, £2.25 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Tesco Free From Coconut Oil Alternative To Mature Cheddar, 200g, £2 VIEW AT TESCO
- Violife Original Grated Cheese Alternative, 200g, £2.50 VIEW AT ASDA
- Tesco Free From Coconut Oil Alternative To Grated Mozzarella, 200g, £2.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- ASDA Free From Grated Cheddar Alternative, 200g, £1.40 VIEW AT ASDA
- ASDA Free From Grated Mozzarella Alternative, 200g, £1.40 VIEW AT ASDA
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Cheddar Style With Onion Coconut Based Alternative To Cheese, 200g, £2.25 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
A traditional loaf of bread is made with just four ingredients; flour, water, yeast and salt, making it one of our favourite foods for vegans. Some enriched bread like brioche or buns may contain butter and egg yolks so do check product packaging before buying. Some crumpets, pitta and tortilla wraps are also suitable for vegans.
Lisa adds; “Some crumpets contain butter, however, this is omitted in vegan-friendly varieties. Keep an eye on e-numbers in crumpets, Warburton’s crumpets are vegan friendly as all the e-numbers contain no animal-based products. To serve, you may like to top with vegan cheese and tomato and melt under the grill, or use to make mini pizzas with your children, using tomato puree, vegan cheese and vegetables.”
Vegan ice cream
Vegan ice cream is another sweet treat that has exploded over the last few years, with lots of options to choose from. The most recent launch comes from Magnum, who have launched two flavours of vegan-friendly ice cream. Available from Tesco in packs of three for £3.89, you can buy an almond version or classic chocolate.
“There are a large number of vegan ice cream’s on the market, many of which are soy-based so not suitable for those with soya intolerance or allergy. However, there are also oat and coconut-based ice creams. To make an ice cream vegan, the dairy and eggs are removed and replaced with plant-based milk and a higher proportion of oil to act as an egg replacement emulsifier,” adds Registered Dietician Lisa.
- Ben & Jerry’s Swirled Non Dairy Ice Cream, 465ml, £4.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Ben & Jerry’s Non Dairy Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream, 465ml, £4.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Swedish Glace Vanilla Non Dairy Frozen Dessert, 750ml, £2.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Magnum Vegan Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream 3x 90ml, £3.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Wicked Kitchen Cookie Dough Ice Dream Treat, 500ml, £2.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Halo Top Plant-Based Caramel Chocolate Pretzel, 473ml, £5 VIEW AT TESCO
- Cornetto Vanilla Gluten Free Soy Ice Cream Cone 4x 90ml, £2 VIEW AT TESCO
- Oatly Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream, 500ml, £4.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Roar Hazelnut Chocolate Cookie Plant Based Ice Cream, 500ml, £5 VIEW AT TESCO
Vegan store cupboard ingredients
Stock your cupboards with a variety of these foods for vegans. We’ve included a few surprising products too like Bisto Favourite Gravy Granules, which are in fact vegetarian and vegan-friendly as they’re made from wheat flour, potato starch, soya and barley, amongst other ingredients. And it’s not just Bisto beef gravy, Sainsbury’s Instant Chicken Noodles are also made with vegans in mind, yet they taste exactly like they’ve been cooking in traditional chicken stock.
- Bisto Favourite Gravy Granules, 170g, £1.30 VIEW AT TESCO
- Sainsbury’s Instant Chicken Noodles 90g, 35p VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Tesco Free From White Lasagne, 480g, 65p VIEW AT TESCO
- Smash The Original Instant Mash Potato, 360g, £2.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Tesco Free From Basil Pesto, 190g, 90p VIEW AT TESCO
- Tesco Free From Korma Cooking Sauce, 500g, 80p VIEW AT TESCO
Making pastry from scratch is a great way to ensure that it’s a suitable food for vegans. However, if you’re looking for the shop-bought vegan-approved alternative, Jus-Rol and Tesco own brand both shortcrust and puff pastry are great choices. When shopping for pastry make sure you keep an eye out for any unwanted dairy products on the ingredients list such as milk and most commonly, butter.
Lisa says; “Vegan pastry does not contain butter, however, it is not a healthier choice as many of the margarine used contain palm oil which is high in saturated fat. For a savoury meal, a pinwheel can be made, which involves spreading tomato puree, vegan pesto, and a variety of vegetables (vegan cheese can also be sprinkled on top if desired) on the rolled out pastry, and then rolling tightly and cutting into slices before being baked at 180C for 20-25 minutes. These can then be served with a mixed salad or vegetables of choice.”
A vast amount of spreads nowadays are made with vegans in mind. Some however still use milk powder or buttermilk, like Nutella and Cadbury’s Chocolate Spread. One of our most recent discoveries has been Lotus Biscuit Spread. This indulgent spread is made with soya, has no added colours, flavours and is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. It tastes heavenly spread on toast and is one of our top foods for vegans.
- Lotus Biscuit Spread Smooth, 400g, £2.30 VIEW AT TESCO
- Nature’s Store Gluten Free Chocolate Spread, £2.25 VIEW AT TESCO
- Marmite Yeast Extract, 125g, £1.85 VIEW AT TESCO
- ASDA Crunchy Wholenut Peanut Butter 340g VIEW AT ASDA
- Vitalite Dairy Free Spread, 500g, £1.40 VIEW AT OCADO
- Pure Dairy Free Vegan Sunflower Spread, 500g, VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- M&S Avocado Oil Spread, 250g
When it comes to vegan pizza, it’s not just about what goes on top of the pizza, it’s about what the base is made of too. Asda offers a build-your-own service at their in-store counters with the bases being vegan-friendly. This means you can pick plenty of veggie toppings.
One of the biggest concerns about jelly, when you’re on a vegan diet, is gelatine. Gelatine is a translucent, edible ingredient that, once baked or set, creates a jelly-like texture associated with jelly or jellied sweets such as Haribo. It is commonly made with collagen, taken from animal body parts making jellies unsuitable foods for vegans. Luckily for vegans and vegetarians, there are alternatives including Agar Agar and Vegan Jel to name a few.
One of our best foods for vegans, chocolate. Despite being made predominately with milk, chocolate has been adapted to cater for vegans too. Most of the options are dark, but some brands now use coconut oil to lighten their chocolate and give a rich, melting texture similar to traditional milk chocolate.
Vegan cake mix
Just like pastry, baking a cake from scratch is a great way to ensure that your cake is going to be vegan as you’ll have full control over the ingredients; especially if you’re choosing from a selection of vegan cake recipes. One thing to keep in mind is that readymade cake mixes often need to be bonded with an egg. Just swap for 1tbsp of chia seeds mixed with 2.5tbsp of water – but of course double check the box of cake mix to make sure there’s no hidden milk powder.
- Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix, 425g, £2 VIEW AT TESCO
- Creative Nature Chia & Cacao Chocolate Chip Brownie Mix, 400g, £4.50 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Superfood Bakery Organic Lemon & Poppy Loaf Mix, 270G, £2.99 VIEW AT TESCO
- FREEE by Doves Farm Sponge Mix, 350g, £2 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Sweetpea Pantry Raw Cacao, Flax & Teff Brownie Mix, 200g, £2.70 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Creative Nature Whole Grain Banana Bread Mix, 250g, £3.50 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
There are masses of crisps that are in fact vegan. Most meat-flavoured crisps contain artificial flavouring and have no animal products in the ingredients list. One of our favourite foods for vegans is Pringles. It’s not just the original flavour that is suitable for vegans, other flavours such as BBQ Sauce, Texas BBQ, Paprika and Smokey Bacon flavours are also foods for vegans.
Lisa adds; “Crisps can contain a number of ingredients unsuitable for vegans, including animal-derived flavourings, and milk. Conversely, there are many crisps that are animal flavoured, such as smoky bacon, or prawn cocktail, which contain artificial flavourings, making them suitable for vegans. Pringles Original, unlike the salt and vinegar version, does not contain milk.”
- Tesco Finest Sea Salt & Black Pepper Crisps, 150g, £1 VIEW AT TESCO
- Sainsbury’s Bacon Crispies, 140g, 95p VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Sainsbury’s Gourmet Sea Salt Crisps, Taste the Difference, 150g, £1 VIEW AT SAINSBURY’S
- Kettle Crisps Vegan Cheese & Red Onion, 135g, £1.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Pringles Original, 30g, £2.50 VIEW AT TESCO
- Jacobs Twiglets, 150g, £2 VIEW AT TESCO
It’s not just the biscuits in the ‘Free-from’ aisle which are suitable for vegans; Oreo, Jammie Dodgers and Mcvitie’s Ginger Nuts are just a handful of foods for vegans. Biscuits and cookies from the fresh bakery section of the supermarket tend to be non-vegan but do ask behind the counter to see if the bakers have any vegan biscuits that would suit you.
“There are many biscuits which are ‘accidentally vegan’, and Oreo’s original are a great example (not all Oreo’s are vegan so always check the label). The vegan-friendly Oreo’s do not contain milk. Oreo’s are handy for making a vegan cheesecake biscuit base, and for adding to the filling. Nush plain cream cheese is an excellent choice for this, and oat cream and plant-based margarine can also be used. For nut allergies, Oatly now also do plain cream cheese,” adds Registered Dietician Lisa.
- Oreo, 2x 154G, £1.85 VIEW AT TESCO
- Jammie Dodgers Raspberry Biscuits, 140g, 50p VIEW AT ASDA
- Fox’s Party Rings Biscuits 125G, 50p VIEW AT TESCO
- Tesco Free From Cookies & Cream Biscuits, 160g, £1.40 VIEW AT TESCO
- Mcvitie’s Ginger Nuts, 250g, 90p VIEW AT TESCO
- Mcvitie’s Rich Tea Biscuits, 300g, £1.29 VIEW AT TESCO
Serve this array of vegan cereal with almond, soy, oat or coconut milk. There are plenty of options to choose from too including Weetabix, Dorset Muesli and Shreddies – all perfect foods for vegans. Keep an eye out for any cereals that contain honey as this tends to be an ingredient found in some whole-grain cereal.
“Weetabix is a great vegan breakfast cereal as they are high in fibre and much lower in sugar than other cereal. They are also fortified with iron, B1, B2, and folic acid, making them a useful source of these nutrients for children and women trying to conceive or pregnant. They do contain some added sugar but they remain a low sugar product, with 1.6g per two biscuits.” Lisa says.
- Weetabix Cereal 24 Pack, £2.80 VIEW AT TESCO
- Dorset Cereals Gloriously Nutty Muesli, 500g, £3.49 VIEW AT ASDA
- Shreddies The Coco One, 560g, £2.60 VIEW AT ASDA
- ASDA Fruit & Fibre, 500g, £1.25 VIEW AT ASDA
- ASDA Blueberry Wheaties Cereal, 500g, £1.80 VIEW AT ASDA
- Kellogg’s Wkk Protein Chocolate & Coconut, 420g, £3 VIEW AT TESCO
Non-vegan ingredients such as milk, butter, honey, gelatine, and eggs make up a lot of readymade desserts. This tempting selection of puds range from treacle tart to cheesecakes and are suitable foods for vegans. Pair some of the dishes with soya or oat milk custard, or dairy-free ice cream.