British supermarkets vary hugely with what vegan food they have available to buy. If you’re not satisfied with the vegan offerings in your local supermarket, it could be time to try another one.
Whether you’re looking for trendy vegan foods like tempeh, or just want to know where you can buy vegan Jammie Dodgers, this guide to the best supermarkets will help you to know where to shop.
What’s the best supermarket for vegans?
The best supermarket for vegans is Sainsbury’s. This supermarket is preferred by most vegans because it has a large range of vegan food, practises good ethics and has clear vegan labelling.
Which supermarket has the best vegan range?
It can be tricky to measure the number of vegan items in a supermarket because this varies with each season – you’ll find lots in January and much less in the summer.
What’s more, supermarkets of different sizes and in different areas will stock different things. Then, there’s how to measure what counts as a vegan food item. Yes, apples are suitable for vegans but they’re not made specifically for vegans.
To get an approximate measure of the size of the vegan range of each supermarket chain, I gathered information from Vegan Food UK. This is a website that lists all the latest vegan food as it’s launched in the UK.
A list of UK supermarkets in order of how many vegan items are listed on the Vegan Food UK website:
- Tesco – 791 items
- Sainsbury’s – 633 items
- Asda – 513 items
- Waitrose – 469 items
- Morrisons – 459 items
- Holland & Barrett – 97 items
- Iceland – 74 items
- Marks & Spencer – 74 items
- Aldi – 70 items
- Co-op – 61 items
- Lidl – 16 item
If you like to shop online, Ocado is the best option for vegans. This online supermarket offers over 3,000 vegan products, including many M&S own-brands.
Which supermarkets do vegans prefer?
In 2019, Vegan Food & Living magazine surveyed 8,300 vegans about many aspects of vegan life, including their shopping habits.
When asked to name the best supermarket for vegans, the results were split evenly between Tesco and Sainsbury’s. 19% of vegans classed these supermarkets as very good and 40% as good.
In third place was Holland & Barrett, with 17% of vegans describing it as very good and 35% as good.
Vegan shoppers also loved the online shop The Vegan Kind Supermarket – with 27% describing it as very good.
Which supermarkets are the most ethical?
Many vegans are concerned about the ethics of supermarkets, preferring to spend their money in shops that act responsibly towards the environment.
The Good Shopping Guide is an ethical comparison site that has scored UK supermarkets based on many factors including their environment reports and whether their own brand products contain GMOs, toxic chemicals or are tested on animals.
Ethical Company Index Scores according to The Good Shopping Guide:
- Sainsbury’s – 71
- Marks & Spencer – 71
- Waitrose – 71
- Lidl – 64
- Morrisons – 64
- Co-op – 64
- Aldi – 54
- Asda – 54
- Tesco – 54
- Iceland – 50
Tips to find the best vegan supermarkets
Here are some tips to make shopping as a vegan easier and to help you find a bigger range of vegan foods to try…
1. Shop online
Ocado has a huge range of vegan products, so it’s a good place to get things that you may not be able to get in your local supermarket.
It’s also cheaper than you might think, with lots of special offers like half-price deals and milti-buys.
2. Rotate your supermarkets
Each supermarket stocks different things. One might have the best vegan cakes and desserts, another might have the biggest vegan frozen section and another might have a good selection of tasty vegan cheese.
Try a different supermarket each week and when you see something rare and delicious, stock up!
3. Bigger supermarkets have more vegan food
The reason why supermarkets like Iceland, Co-Op and Lidl aren’t high in the list of supermarkets with the biggest vegan ranges is that they’re small.
As veganism is still a niche diet and lifestyle, there needs to be enough demand for products for supermarkets to stock them. Not as many people will visit your local Tesco Express as the big Tesco Extra, so it’s often worth the extra travel when you do the ‘big shop’.
4. If you can’t find something, ask
Vegan food tends to be dotted all over supermarkets, and it sometimes isn’t in the place where you’d expect to find it.
For example, you might have no luck finding vegan chocolate in the chocolate section or in the vegan section. That doesn’t mean it’s not there somewhere. The gluten-free section is always a good place to look as you’ll find some dairy-free things in there (just be sure to check that they don’t also contain other things like eggs or honey.)
Food shopping as a vegan can be joyful at certain times of the year. I particularly love December when all the festive vegan things are out, as well as January when many brands launch their vegan ranges.
If you struggle to find the things that you need when doing your supermarket shop, I would suggest trying any large supermarkets that are nearby, particularly Sainsbury’s and Tesco if you haven’t been in there for a while.