During the last few years, the global vegan food industry has undeniably accelerated. But the UK, in particular, seems to be the country to beat when it comes to plant-based products. In 2019, the UK was announced as the world leader for vegan food launches. Data from Mintel found that 16 percent of new food debuts in 2018 were plant-based.
In 2021, the number of animal-free products on the shelves is still growing. Each of the country’s major supermarket chains offers a wide selection of products, from burgers and nuggets to more innovative items like vegan egg and cress sandwiches, fishless fillets, and even pork-free belly.
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle, looking to try more meatless products, or you just need a refresher on what’s available, read on to find out the best new vegan products in UK stores right now.
The Best Vegan Products in UK Stores Now
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer, more commonly referred to as simply M&S, has been steadily adding more and more items to its vegan Plant Kitchen range since the initial launch in 2018. Now, you can buy products like vegan streaky bacon, fishless cakes, chicken-free southern fried tenders, and even dairy-free strawberry cheesecake from the chain.
James Fisher, Plant Kitchen’s product developer, said in a statement earlier this month: “All of our Plant Kitchen dishes have been developed with a ‘flavor-first’ mentality.”
Tesco has not one, but two vegan ranges. Developed by top vegan chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, the Wicked Kitchen range includes products like the Spicy Smoky Dreamy Mac and Jalapeno Griller Patties. The well-priced Plant Chef includes classics like meatless sausages and vegan soups, as well as a wide range of plant-based ready meals and tasty sandwich options (including No Egg & Cress).
Plant Chef was also developed by Derek, who additionally serves as Tesco’s director of plant-based innovation. Launched in 2019, the range was designed for families, Derek told LIVEKINDLY. He said: “We’ve turbo charged our innovative original Wicked Kitchen snacks and meals. For those looking for everyday delicious meal swaps, we’re launching the exciting Tesco Plant Chef range.”
Lidl has upped its range of vegan options recently. At the moment, it’s running a Veganuary campaign, with a number of meatless items on the shelves. These include products by Linda McCartney and Meatless Farms, as well as its own brand product range, called Vemondo Free From. Notable items from the latter include No Beef pasties and Cheez and Onion pasties.
Asda’s own-brand Plant Based range is extensive, as well as the usual culprits like vegan sausages, nuggets, and burgers, it also offers plenty of innovative, unique products. For example, you can now buy Plant Based Chinese Style Hoisin Crispbakes from the chain, as well as Teriyaki Broccoli Popcorn, and Veg & Sheese Stuffed Mushrooms.
In September 2020, Asda became the first UK supermarket to launch a shelf-stable vegan aisle in its stores. And earlier this month, it began trialling a plant-based butchers counter in its Watford location.
“Demand for vegan products is on the rise,” said Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s chief strategy officer, in a recent statement. “We have seen a surge in people seeking out ways to easily enjoy a plant-based lifestyle.”
Sainsbury’s is also on top of its game when it comes to plant-based offerings. Its own-band Plant Pioneers range consists of a variety of veganized ready meal favorites, like its Vegan No Chicken Sweet & Sour with Tofu Fried Rice and Vegan Tikka Masala & Pilau Rice. The range also includes a variety of jackfruit-based products, like the Peking No Duck Jackfruit and No Pork Belly bites, as well as classic options like sausages, burgers, and goujons.
Much like its competitors, Morrisons has a wide range of vegan options on its shelves. Its V Taste range includes plant-based products like No Moo-zeralla Sticks, Breaded Fish Fillets, and Coconut Katsu Curry Melts. Additionally, the supermarket is also currently offering a Veganuary box this month. Designed to help those giving the vegan lifestyle a shot for the first time, the box includes vegan milk, condiments, cheese, meat, and snacks.
It may not be a supermarket, but with its extensive meal deal sandwich offering, Boots has become a go-to lunchtime destination for many Brits. At the end of last year, the drugstore chain announced the arrival of four new vegan sandwiches. Based around the ‘nation’s favorites,’ the new options are: No Tuna & Sweetcorn, No Duck & Hoisin, No Cheese & Onion, and No Chicken Salad.
Waitrose has a significant number of vegan options on its shelves from brands like White Rabbit, Pizza Express, Magnum, and Quorn. It also offers an own-brand vegan range, which includes products like Crisp-Crumbed Seitan Slices, Mushroom & Leek Bangers, and Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry.
Back in October, the chain even launched vegan cheese fondue by Amsterdam-based brand Willicroft. Jo Haywood, Waitrose’s Speciality Cheese Buyer, said in a statement at the time: “We are really excited to be the first UK supermarket to launch a vegan fondue product … We think our customers will be very excited to try it, even if they aren’t vegan.”
Not one to disappoint, Aldi’s shelves are also stacked with plenty of plant-based options. Its Plant Menu range (previously labeled I Am Vegan) currently includes a variety of meat-free burgers (vegetable, spicy bean, beef-style, and chicken-style are among the offering) as well as vegetable fingers, plant-based pasties, and even a new No Meatball Marinara sub.
Iceland has been adding new vegan options to its shelves for quite some time now. Its former private label brand No Meat, recently acquired by the LIVEKINDLY Collective, offers a wide range of vegan options, including the renowned award-winning beef-like No Bull Burgers. Most recently, the chain added Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls and steak bakes to its frozen shelves, alongside a new No Meat footlong vegan sausage roll.
Wherever you choose to shop, there are plenty of vegan options waiting for you at stores across the UK. It’s an exciting time for plant-based product innovation. The standard is already high, but as consumers keep buying these products, the variety is only going to keep getting better and tastier.