February 5, 2020 8:16 am Leave your thoughts
Now that Veganuary’s over, are you left counting the cost? Totting it all up, was going plant-based for a month better for your health and better for the planet – but worse for your wallet? It seems like it might have been that way for many people.
The cost of going vegan
This Saturday, the Times newspaper’s Business section considered some of the prices – and profits – associated with Veganuary. It quoted a man who’d taken part in Veganuary and seen his bi-weekly food shop rise from £45 to £64. A retail analyst, Clive Black, notes:
“There is an aspiration from retailers to extract as much value from the vegan and ‘free from’ trend as possible. It does seem like the fewer calories you eat, the more expensive they are.”
The Times article looks at own-brand vegan sausages from Sainsbury’s as an example: £8.04 per kg, compared with £3.30 for own-brand pork. It’s a money-spinner for the retailers in an otherwise difficult operating environment: sales of vegan products have grown by 40% over the last five years, with almost one-quarter of all new food product launches in 2019 labelled as vegan.
Are retailers simply fleecing their customers? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Producing vegan food – in dedicated facilities, using a greater combination of harder-to-source ingredients and innovative techniques, without the economies of scale afforded by mainstream meat products – can quite legitimately result in higher prices. But whatever the reason, the end-result is the same for the consumer’s pocket.
If it cost you a packet….
….then it’s probably time to ditch the packets! And that’s not just for reasons of cost. The same edition of the Times asked a nutritional therapist, Maya Oakley, to delve into the ingredients of various new vegan convenience foods, comparing them against their meaty counterparts. Some of the findings weren’t great – they included foods with lengthy ingredients list (“generally, the fewer the ingredients, the healthier and less adulterated [food] is likely to be”), packed with additional salt, fat or sugar. Keen to ensure that customers barely notice the difference between vegan and ‘normal’ food, producers are going to great lengths to recreate a meaty flavour and mouth-feel, often working against the very nature of the ingredients they’re using. Imaginative as it is, carrot peelings are not smoked salmon – and it’s going to take quite some innovation to convince consumers they are.
In short, it turns out that vegan convenience food isn’t any better for us than meaty convenience food – in fact, it’s likely to be worse. At Naturally Good Food, we’ve got some simple advice. Stop eating it. It will benefit you nutritionally – and financially.
Eating vegan is cheaper than eating meat if you use proper raw ingredients and cook them yourself. For a healthy, economical vegan diet, you’ll need plenty of fruit and vegetables (not dirt-cheap, but cheaper than high-quality meat), along with whole grains, pulses, lentils and chickpeas (astonishingly cheap). Add some herbs, spices and plant-based oils (not pricey), soya products (not generally expensive), nuts and seeds (the former are often more expensive than the latter, so choose carefully), yeast extract for Vitamin B12 and some plant-based milks and non-dairy chocolate – and your shopping basket should still come in within a perfectly reasonable budget.
It does mean stepping away from the supermarket convenience aisle, of course. Fortunately, there’s an equally convenient option right here: Naturally Good Food’s Vegan and Wholefoods sections! At Naturally Good Food, we’ve got all the storecupboard ingredients you need for a healthy – and economic – vegan lifestyle. You can buy in bulk from us, cutting costs significantly. You can buy in our Sale, allowing you to try out more unusual ingredients. You can read our blogs and recipes for advice on how to use these wonderful, nutritionally rich ingredients.
There’s no cheating in what we do. We’re not selling you vegan ‘bacon’ or ‘chorizo’ – or suggesting that you work against the very nature of the ingredients we sell. We want all our customers – meat-eaters and vegans – to appreciate the intrinsic qualities of genuinely healthy, wholefood, raw ingredients and use them to make the very best meals.
Vegan supermarket shopping is just the first step. Now take the next.bulk buy, chick peas, chickpeas, cold-pressedoils, cost, Dairy free chocolate, dairy-free milk, herbs, lentils, non-dairy chocolate, non-dairy milk, Nuts, plant-based, plant-based milk, plant-based oils, Pulses, sale, Seeds, soy, soya, spices, Times, vegan, vegan blogs, vegan chocolate, vegan convenience food, vegan milk, vegan recipes, Veganuary, whole grains, Wholefoods, yeast extract
This post was written by Yzanne