A guide to easy vegan shopping in supermarkets
I first went vegan over eight years ago. Back then, it was a mission to get something as simple as soya milk; I'd have to travel 30 minutes to a health store in the nearest city to buy it. Now, it's in many cafés, mini-marts and corner shops in the UK.
The rise in veganism in the UK over the last few years has brought about a surge in the number of vegan friendly products in our shops. While I'd personally rather cook food for myself than buy ready-made meals, sometimes you can't beat the convenience of a ping meal, pre-prepared lunch or quick snack. Here are some simple bits of advice to speed up your shop.
Own-brands opting for animal friendly
Many of the major food shops in the UK have noticed the increased demand for vegan options.
Co-op's Veganuary blog post runs through some of its own-brand vegan food, the highlight being the yummy jam and custard doughnuts from its in-store bakery. They're pretty good at labeling their products vegan.
Tesco has exclusivity to sell the new Wicked Kitchen range of 20 vegan products, including pizzas, pasta dishes and lunch options. The meals are so popular they regularly sell out. Tesco's Free From range is really good, especially the cookies and chocolate buttons.
M&S is better than it used to be for vegan options, as is Waitrose, but there's plenty of room for more. Along with Aldi and Lidl, they have started to mark some of their products vegan, which is a huge help when you're used to reading the back of every packet.
Little treats to look out for
If you want a sweet something that's free from animal-derived ingredients, look out for these at your local supermarket:
Alpro yoghurts and desserts – a bowl of Alpro's vanilla yoghurt with berries and some toasted granola is one of my go-to supper options.
Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread – I have an addiction to this spreadable version of what I used to call 'hairdresser biscuits' (for some reason, every hair salon I have ever gone to has popped one of these caramel biscuits on the saucer).
Booja-Booja ice cream – the Caramel Pecan Praline ice cream is rich, indulgent and sticky sweet. I reckon it's more delicious than its non-vegan equivalents.
Freaks of Nature pots – these little pots of chilled desserts are naturally sweetened and very creamy. I like the Strawberry Blonde, which is basically a vegan strawberry cheesecake in a tub.
Freedom Mallows – vegan marshmallows that taste like fluffy clouds. I needn't say any more.
Oreos – despite being chocolate biscuits filled with creme, these bad boys are vegan. Hooray!
Really helpful vegan lists
Speed up your shopping by referring to these mighty lists that detail the vegan products available in supermarkets.
Also worth noting is Barnivore, a great site for looking up whether wines and beers are vegan.
NB: Please double-check the ingredients of products mentioned before you eat them. If you would like your shop's vegan product list to be here too, please get in touch.
Share your favourite vegan finds in the comments section below or tweet @YayEveryDay_