Updated August 1, 2019 | British supermarket Sainsbury’s is riding the plant-based wave by offering customers more vegan options than ever.
Sainsbury’s has always been a go-to for specialist products. The supermarket was one of the first UK grocers to sell extra virgin olive oil and is the only British supermarket to stock Sophie’s Kitchen vegan seafood. The popular chain keeps its offerings fresh by paying close attention to market demands and its own product sales. Last month the chain reported that 91 percent of the UK has adopted a flexitarian diet, which is described as mostly vegetarian with a little wiggle room. This less prescriptive approach to plant-based eating has enabled many Brits to reduce their meat consumption.
The national move towards more vegan-friendly diets was commented upon by Rosie Bambaji, the plant-based buyer at Sainsbury’s. “We’re seeing increasing demand for plant-based products, and with the unstoppable rise of ‘flexitarianism’ in the UK, we are exploring further ways to make popular meat-free options more accessible.” said Bambaji.
Inclusivity and ‘Signsbury’s’
Now over a century-and-a-half old, Sainsbury’s was founded in Holborn by the husband-and-wife team, John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury in 1869. The eponymous company is currently the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain and in 2018 was crowned the “UK’s Most Popular Supermarket for Vegans.”
It’s not just inclusive of dietary requirements. The chain also recently launched ‘Signsbury’s,’ a campaign that ran for four days back in July. The initiative saw a superstore in Bath became the first Sainsbury’s signing store. More than 100 employees took part in British Sign Language lessons, delivered by a local school.
Aisles were lined with digital screens, and customers were taught basic shopping-related words, like “banana” and “trolley.” Children were also involved. They were encouraged to “Sign for a Snack,” receiving a piece of fruit for learning basic sign communication.
‘Love Your Veg’
Sainsbury’s likes to encourage its customers to eat healthy foods. As well as carrying several popular meat-free brands such as Fry’s and Linda McCartney, Sainsbury’s launched its own Love Your Veg plant-based range in 2018.
This impressive range of products, snacks and ready meals has proved incredibly popular with Brits following a flexitarian or meat reduced-diet. The innovative vegan range includes products like BBQ Pulled Jackfruit and the supermarket’s signature Shroomdogs that even have a cellulose sausage casing. Thanks in part to its wide variety of vegan goodies, Sainsbury’s announced a 65 percent increase in vegan product sales last year.
Georgina Lunn, product developer for Fresh Produce at Sainsbury’s said of the newly launched range:
“Sainsbury’s new range of plant-based products provide innovative, inspirational solutions for everyday meals – from our supermarket-first pulled Jackfruit, to the super-satisfying ‘Shroomdogs’, we’re really proud to be offering a wide choice of flavours and can’t wait to hear how our customers are using them.”
Without further ado, here are the most popular vegan products available at Sainsbury’s:
As a British company, Sainsbury’s knows the importance of having decent milk to slosh in your tea. As such, the supermarket stocks a wide variety of plant milk after doubling its range in 2017. Were Cleopatra vegan and alive today, she would no doubt have her milk baths filled up with Sainsbury’s stock.
The supermarket now carries:
- Almond Breeze with its subtle creaminess
- Koko made from coconuts
- Good Hemp Milk, which is apparently the best vegan product for producing latte art
- Rude Health coconut drink and its almond drink
- Oatly, in all its tasty oat based flavors
- Rice Dream for a light vegan milk
- Provitamil Oat milk
- Plenish Organic Almond Milk
- Alpro in all its sumptuous varieties which are almond, hazelnut, oat, coconut and chocolate
Technically Alpro’s chocolate milk is not cocoa bean based, it’s just the original soya with additional cocoa. It is, however, amazing for dipping Oreos into.
Sainsbury’s stocks an excellent variety of vegan cheese with products from leading brands Violife, Koko, Bute Island, and Daiya.
The supermarket also launched its own range of coconut-based cheese in 2016, causing ripples of controversy in the curd cosmos. One fromage fan took to Facebook to complain about Sainsbury’s new dairy-free range. The keyboard warrior ranted: “Call it Gary or something just don’t call it cheese because it’s not cheese!”
Sainsbury’s proved it had a sense of humor by temporarily rechristening its cheese “Gary” to much amusement. Now diplomatically named “the coconut alternative to… (insert cheese here)” the range includes five vegan Garys. Sorry, cheeses.
The five Deliciously Free From cheeses are:
- Cheddar which is a staple of any cheeseboard, vegan or otherwise
- Cheddar with Onion for a bit of added bite
- Greek Style, which is basically vegan feta and has an enjoyable crumbliness
- Cream cheese, smooth and cool
- Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese for more flavorful bagel smearing
As well as more classic veggie items such as vegetable fingers and GOSH Falafels, Sainsbury’s carries a number of vegan meat lines. These plant-based products which provide the flavor and texture of traditional meat are particularly appealing for meat-reducers or people wanting to eat more vegan food.
Sainsbury’s selection of Vegan Meat ranges includes the following:
- Fry’s Artisan Lightly Seasoned Vegan Chicken-Style Strips for kebabs or wraps
- Fry’s Vegan Artisan Southern-Style Tenders, chewy and a bit sweet
- Fry’s Vegan Artisan Smoked Hot Dogs for summer barbecues
- Frys Vegan Steak Style & Ale Pie made of textured wheat protein and soya
- Vivera Veggie Kebab infused with aromatic spices like cumin and fenugreek
- Vivera Veggie Burgers which are made of soya
- Vivera Veggie Chicken Pieces for casseroles
- Vivera Veggie Mince for perfect vegan shepherd’s pie
- Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n for a taste of the Orient
- Gardein Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips in a garlic and pepper sauce
- Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders with a texture similar to chicken
- Quorn Vegan Chicken Free Slices for livening up sandwiches
- Quorn Vegan Smoky Ham Free Slices which are also good torn up in salads
- Quorn Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers in a crunchy breadcrumb
- Quorn Vegan Nuggets for lazy midweek meals
- Quorn Vegan Pieces for rustling up stews or stir-fries
- Vegetarian Meatballs best served with spaghetti and big hand gestures
- Vegetarian Sausages for hearty bangers and mash combos
- Deep Dish Country Pie filled with thick gravy and soya steak pieces
- Quarter Pounder Burger which is well known for its juiciness
- Rosemary Vegetarian Sausages which crisp up nicely
- Sausage Rolls, wrapped in rich flaky pastry
- Vegetarian Beef Roast with Red Wine & Shallot Glaze, succulent and tiny bit boozy
- Vegetarian Pulled Pork with a sweet, smoky flavor
- Vegetarian Beef Wellington Bites, filled with mushroom and spinach
- Naturli Plant Based Mince is made from soy protein and colored with beetroot extract
- Naturli Pea Based Minced, made from pea protein concentrate for a soy free bolognese
The Meatless Farm Co.
- Meat Free Mince, which can be found in the chilled meat section
- Meat Free Sausages made from pea, soy, and rice proteins with caramelised carrot
- Meat Free Burgers, which are high in protein
Sainsbury’s Meat Free and Love Your Veg!
- Sainsbury’s Meat Free Burgers made of soy
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Vegan Caramelised Onion Shroomdogs
- Sainsbury’s Meat-free Meat Balls which admittedly sounds like a contradiction in terms
- Sainsbury’s Vegetarian Mince, soya based and in the freezer section
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Vegan Cumberland Shroomdogs with traditional herbs
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Chorizo Style Shroomdogs for a more continental banger
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! The Smoky ‘Jack’ Quarter Pounder, made of pulled jackfruit
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Cumberland Shroompups, like Shroomdogs only smaller
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Shroomballs, like Shroomdogs only rounder
- Vivera Veggie Fish Burgers, coated in breadcrumbs and made from soya
- Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Scampi Bites, breaded with a flaky interior
- Quorn Vegan Fishless Fingers which go very well with mashed potato
- Gardein Golden Fishless Fillets coated in a tempura batter
- Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Shrimp and Smoked Salmon
Sainsbury’s began stocking products Sophie’s Kitchen in 2019. The California based company crafts its vegan seafood from pea and potato starches, while seaweed derivative, alginate provides a briny flavor.
Vegan Ready Meals
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Onion Bhajia, Vegetable Keema Masala, not too hot
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Vegetable Thai Green Curry, aromatic and spicy
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Channa Masala & Cauliflower Pilau Rice with chickpea protein
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Chilli Bean Non Carne & Rice for a hearty feed
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Lentil Cottage Pie, a vegan take on a classic
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Vegan Roast Butternut & Charred Broccoli Pizza
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Sweet Potato Katsu Curry & Rice, with panko breadcrumb
- Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Rainbow Vegetable Stew & Dumplings for cold evenings
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Vegan Margherita Pizza when only pizza will do
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Vegetable Lasagne with creamy vegan bechamel
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Butternut Squash Risotto, moist and tender
- Wasabi Sushi & Bento Tofu Curry with Rice with fluffy chunks of deep fried bean curd
- Sainsbury’s Spicy Pulled Jackfruit wrap which was launched in May 2018.
- Fry’s Vegan Sausage Roll which is seasoned with basil and oregano
Sainsbury’s is particularly attentive to plant-based eater’s ice cream needs. Because after all, ice cream matters. In total, Sainsbury’s stocks nine types of vegan ice cream which are:
- Swedish Glace for a light, whipped ice cream
- Halo Top, popularly marketed as the “guilt-free” ice cream
- Alpro, in Hazelnut Chocolate, Vanilla, or Almond Salted Caramel
- Vegan Magnums dipped in dark chocolate
- Vegan Cornettos for handheld ice cream enjoyment
- Vegan Jude’s Ice Cream in classic chocolate
- Coconut Collaborative offers up Snowconut Frozen Yogurt Alternative or Chocolate Dipped Snowconut Sticks
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Iced Dessert in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry
- Vegan Ben and Jerry’s, in Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Peanut Butter Cookies, or Coconutterly Caramel’d
Of course, ice cream is not the only item on the dessert trolley and Sainsbury’s stocks several other plant-based puds from leading brands and from its own Deliciously Free From range.
- Pudology Richly Indulgent Banoffee Puds are gluten-free and topped with dark chocolate
- Daiya Chocolate Cheezcake has been stocked at Sainsbury’s since May 2018
- Alpro Desserts, which come in Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate
- Alpro Dessert Moments, gourmet flavors of Hazelnut and Chocolate or Almond Vanilla
- Coconut Collaborative offers decadent Little Choc Pots, several yogurts, Rice Pudding or Raspberry Panna Cotta
- La Boulangere Vegan Pains Au Chocolat, which were launched in early 2019
- La Boulangere Vegan Croissants, slightly sweet and buttery tasting
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Choc & Orange Bar with a citrus burst
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Choc Bar, in white or light chocolate
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Crispy Choc Bar with crunchy puffed rice
- Lazy Day Foods Belgian Dark Chocolate Tiffin, gooey chocolate truffle squares
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Choc and Raisin Clusters made with cornflakes
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From White Choc Coconut Clusters, little mouthfuls of joy
- Fabulous Freefrom Factory Dairy Free Choc covered Raisins which are gorgeously moreish
- Bells & Whistles Ginger & Apricot Cake Slices
- Bells & Whistles Berry & Cashew Cake Slices
- Bells & Whistles Nut Truffle Cake Slices