Lets face it we’re not all blessed with living in an area that house supermarkets such as Wholefoods or once in a blue moon other versions of these. We’re also not always blessed with lots of money as lets face it again normally those sort of stores are pretty pricey. I decided to write this post for precisely these reasons, and after going through the first initial struggle of finding the right food and the right places (which by the way after nearly 2 years has only just eased) I thought it might help someone who is new to veganism. Before I start even though I refer to my shops being a full shop, I should mention I still have to get some things from a health food shop because some things I can only get from there.
As the awareness of veganism and allergies has increased over the past few years, supermarkets have begun to take note and cater more for alternative diets or even labelling their products vegan. Asda I feel are one of the supermarkets that are still lagging behind. Though despite this and I’m going to sound like I like my wine too much now (which I probably do), they have more of a choice of wines suitable to vegans and vegetarians that are actually labelled! Albeit they’re not the fanciest or expensive of wines and the only ones I’ve tried are the rosé which are very nice. But I’ve only seen this in Asda stores local to me, I don’t know if it’s the same for other stores? Anyway this was Asda’s saving grace for me, because whenever I fancy some wine the search for vegan friendly wine is painstaking and normally results in me finding one bottle out of the whole shop that’s labelled vegan friendly, and usually if I try googling the wines more often than not it doesn’t even say online but Asda makes the search very easy for me. This just means that I wouldn’t use this store for my weekly shop unless I had to, but I would most definitely get my booze from there. Don’t give up on Asda though they are getting better, they just have to catch up to the others.
Sainsbury’s was one of my first favourite supermarkets when I first started becoming vegan, they had a massive superstore near where I was living in Scotland and not only did they label things vegan more than your average supermarket but they had a wide variety of vegan options. The only downside then and now is that they tend to charge more than other shops. After moving back to Yorkshire, Sainsbury’s continued to be one of the favoured supermarkets up until recently when the quality of the fresh food just dropped drastically where it was almost inedible. And because fruit and vegetables are the basis of my diet I had to stop doing my big shop there. This could be just me being picky but it was enough to stop my mum from wanting to shop there all the time. But everything else its perfect for, it’s just the price! And their own prosecco is amazing, its not as fizzy as others but still amazing and vegan.
This is another supermarket that like Sainsbury’s offer a wide variation of vegan options and just label their products more but again the price is a tad higher than the others. It used to be a key part of my big shop but with other supermarkets getting better and now offer the same or similar things for lower prices I tend to not shop there anymore but its nice to know it’s there to fall back on.
Tesco is getting so good for vegan food; it’s gone from somewhere I’ve never really felt much about to one of my favourite places to shop. The free from section, seems bigger every time I shop there, they’re labelling their products a lot more. The fresh food is quite good, not as good as my number one but they do amazing steamed beetroot which is my absolute favourite. Plus their food is affordable, essential when you live on a budget. Their own versions of magnum and cornetto’s have been my comfort food this summer.
Morrisons has been my favourite ever since the beginning, even though at first they had pretty much no labelled vegan food or vegan substitutes so I had to look through the ingredients of everything I bought until I knew by heart what I could buy from that shop. And I’d do the rest of the shop somewhere else. It’s always been my favourite despite this because its always where I’ve shopped, old habits die hard as they say. But over the past 2 years they’ve got so much better and I do my full shop there except for things I can only get from a health food shop. The only thing they seem to be lacking is more wines (as you’ve probably noticed this is important to me) that are labelled vegan and vegetarian friendly as I really struggle to find any and when I do they’re normally the most expensive of wines, even their own wines are not labelled as vegan or vegetarian friendly whereas most other supermarkets are. But we do not need wine, we need food and for this Morrison’s is the best, I love their fresh food and in my local one they always sell locally produced food another plus in my eye. With being vegan you find you have to make the majority of your meals from scratch, which isn’t a bad thing I may add but sometimes when you’re short of time this is hard and Morrison’s also offer a wide selection of vegan food you can just shove in the oven if you’re in a rush. Probably not very healthy but at least you’re eating. And again it’s another very affordable supermarket.
I mentioned earlier that I still need to get somethings from a health food store, these type of things tend to generally be nuts and seeds because you can usually buy them in bulk there and it’s cheaper than getting them from the supermarket, other things include shelled hemp, chia seeds, spirulina and other things along those lines. Sometimes I’ll get things like vegan cheese or miso paste if one of the supermarkets are out of stock on those items. These shops tend to be a Holland and Barrett shop or I’ve found a cute vegan shop in Bridlington but can’t remember for the life of me what’s called and there’s a health food shop in Pocklington near York called Peppercorn.
I’m going to do another post on my store cupboard must haves soon and some of the dishes I typically make with them. If anyone knows of any other shops or anywhere that they like to get their vegan food from, feel free to let me know. I feel like I should mention Aldi too because I’ve noticed recently that they’ve started making a change. It makes me so happy to know veganism and vegetarianism is becoming more popular and well known now, people are a lot more open minded to it. I think overall people are a lot more aware of what they’re putting into the bodies which is so important and it’s what we need to stay healthy.