Over 700,000 people signed up to the Veganuary movement in 2023 (1) with nearly 10% of Brits having participated in the movement since it’s launch in 2014. (2)
Making the shift towards a vegan lifestyle is an impactful choice, benefiting both our health and the environment. However, finding suitable replacements for animal-based products can be a challenge.
Here are our favourite vegan alternatives to common foods so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. These easy swaps will keep you fuelled and satisfy your taste buds whether you’re baking, cooking, or snacking.
Discover 10 vegan alternatives that mimic familiar flavours and textures and have lots of health benefits…
We begin our list of the best vegan alternatives with one of the most popular. As a nation, we’re rather fond of plant-based milk alternatives. Almost a quarter of Brits used plant-based milk alternatives in 2022 (3) and just over one in ten Pret a Manger hot drinks are ordered with dairy alternative milk. (4)
Some of the most popular options include oat, soy, hazelnut, coconut, hemp, quinoa, and cashew.
They’re not only a tasty addition to your favourite drink, but can be used for cooking and baking. Soy milk, in particular, is a great swap for buttermilk. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even make your own nut milk by soaking raw nuts before blending with water and straining.
And, of course, there’s always the debate of whether to drink a protein shake with milk or water.
Apples and eggs may seem worlds apart in a taste test, but apple butter is a fantastic fat-free alternative to eggs when baking. Apple butter is the tasty result of allowing apple sauce to cook very slowly which causes the natural sugar to caramelise.
Swapping an egg for a quarter cup of unsweetened apple butter will add flavour and moisture to cakes, breads, and biscuits.
Other egg alternatives include whipped aquafaba, blended silken tofu, grounded flax seeds, or a liquid egg substitute.
From cream cheese to Camembert, there’s never been a better selection of vegan-friendly cheeses on offer. Made using alternative ingredients such as coconuts, aquafaba, and nuts, sales of plant-based cheese grew 41% in 2018. (5)
Another option to consider is dried nutritional yeast flakes. Packed full of essential vitamins such as B12, the cheesy, nutty taste is the perfect addition to soups, salads and sauces or pasta, stews and casseroles.
Or, if you’re feeling super adventurous, you can get a vegan cheese-making kit and create your own!
Approximately one in three British people have quit or reduced their meat consumption (6), with over half of meet substitute consumers eating these products a minimum of once a week (7).
Plenty of mainstream companies have just on this trend and need too. There are now plenty of meat substitutes and vegan alternatives in chains like McDonald’s, Gregg’s and Burger King offer vegan options.
For cooking at home, Quorn has been a household favourite since 1985. Made from mycoprotein using a process similar to fermenting beer, vegan-friendly Quorn products contain potato protein instead of egg to provide a low fat alternative to meat-based dishes.
Another favourite is seitan. This versatile vegan protein has a meat-like look and texture when cooked. Whether you fry it, roast it, grill it or cook it, this great protein source can replace the chicken, beef, bacon or sausage in your favourite recipes.
When it comes to finding a suitable substitute for butter, it’s all about the oils. Sunflower, vegetable and olive oil are all great choices for bread, salads, and pasta. When cooking on a low heat, olive oil works best but for frying, opt for an oil with a high smoke point such as sunflower or toasted sesame oil.
Coconut oil is a popular butter substitute when baking as it has a similar texture and is solid at room temperature.
When a recipe calls for butter, simply switch for three quarters that amount of coconut oil mixed with a quarter that amount of cold or tepid water.
According to Chloe Coscarelli, who won the Food Network’s ‘Cupcake Wars’ with her trademark vegan cupcakes, swapping dairy products in baked goods is easy. (8) For example, when a recipe includes sour cream she recommends substituting it with coconut milk and a splash of vinegar.
Lactose-free and vegan, coconut milk comes from the meat of freshly-grated coconuts. Simply skim off the cream from full-fat coconut milk and add a dash of vinegar (or lemon juice) to give it the required sour taste.
Other vegan alternatives for sour cream include coconut cream, soy yoghurt or silken tofu.
Did you know that it takes approximately 768 bees to make one pound of honey? In the process, they’ll visit two million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles. (9)
There are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives to honey. Whether you opt for golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar or brown rice syrup, you can use them for baking, sauces, recipes, or enjoy it straight from a spoon.
Treating chocolate as a heavenly treat isn’t a modern phenomenon. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, literally means ‘food of the gods’.
As it’s often made without milk, dark chocolate is the go-to choice for sweet-toothed vegans. Dark chocolate contains 2-3 times more flavonol than milk chocolate. This plant chemical helps improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and may help protect the heart. (10) That’s why the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends opting for 70% dark chocolate or higher so you get the most flavanols.
However, there are now so many vegan alternatives for chocolate filling the supermarket shelves that you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. A few of our faves are the Cadbury Plant Bar, Lindt Classic Vegan Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate, and our Loaded Legends bars to name a few!
Ice cream titans such as Ben & Jerry’s and HäagenDazs offer vegan ice cream and dairy-free ice cream sales are expected to surpass $1 billion worldwide by 2024 according to research by Global Market Insights. (11)
However, if you prefer homemade to shop bought, all you need is ripe bananas. Simply peel and freeze the ripe fruit then pop them into a blender to create a light, creamy banana puree for a delicious dairy-free dessert.
Again, the rise of vegan ice cream has grown tremendously in the last few years. All you need to do is head to the freezer section of your local supermarket and find a myriad of vegan alternatives from Ben & Jerry’s, Jude’s, and even vegan Magnum Bars.
Whey protein is a fantastic way to add protein to your diet and one of the most widely used supplements in sports nutrition. Our team of maverick nutritionists have created a whey protein replacement that is 100% vegan.
Our Vegan Wondershake provides 21g of premium plant-based protein and only 0.6g of sugar per serving. In addition, it has just 0.7g of fat and as little as 89 calories per serving. Described as an “absolute game-changer”, it’s the world’s first vegan protein shake that tastes like a dairy shake.
We also have other vegan protein products to choose from which cater to a variety of needs.
(5) US Plant-Based Market Overview. The Good Food Institute
(11) Kunal Ahuja, Amit Rawat. (2018) Non-Dairy Ice Cream Market to exceed $1bn by 2024