Supermarket Sweep

Supermarket Sweep

Have you had a good look at your supermarket recently? I mean *really* looked, just so all you Veganuary babies know, this is not how supermarkets have always been, but vegan veterans also take note. When things change gradually it is so easy to take things for granted but we should all acknowledge supermarkets are pretty amazing these days.

Slowly, slowly, with a definite noticeability last year, supermarkets have been broadening their free from ranges. Late last year I noticed that the free from section in my local Sainsbury’s had doubled in size with a corresponding reduction in size of the meat/fish/cheese counters, this following on from an addition of an all plant-based milk fridge.

Tesco was the first to trail blaze vegan cheese in 2012 plus a whole range of other specialty vegan products followed by Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From range a few years later. Vegan products are so accessible in most supermarkets you can get everything you might want in one shop including dessert *winks at Ben and Jerry’s*. I mean Sainsbury’s had a frigging cheese board over Christmas!

Your standard meat substitutes a la Linda McCartney have broadened their range substantially. They even changed the recipe of one Almost Vegan product after pressure from The Vegans to omit the honey it contained. Quorn, another supermarket staple, who for many years vegans had to tirelessly explain to everyone ‘was not vegan’, now have several vegan products with slices on the way โ€“ pepperoni and sausages next please ๐Ÿ™‚

Other items that you will notice include meat substitutes, whilst soya mince is pretty standard, creeping in are soya pieces and even jackfruit, which us old school vegans had to traipse down to the nearest oriental supermarket to find.

Sainsbury's sweet & smoky jackfruit { Sainsbury’s sweet and smoky pulled BBQ jackfruit – I really enjoyed this with some veggie rice and kale }

M&S veggie chunks{ Marks and Spencers now have an extensive vegetarian range }

Vivera pulled veggieย { Vivera available in Waitrose }

Waitrose launched a range of own-brand ready meals with The Vegetarian Butcher late last year which I was really excited about, unfortunately,ย the majority of the range is vegetarian and not vegan. I took a trip to Waitrose yesterday and in terms of optionsย they are actually lagging behind (well my branch anyway), whilst they did have some cream Sheese which is new since my last visit they do need to up their game some-what especially if they are going to keep up with the likes of Tesco.

So yes, probably one of the biggest launches of January and possibly my whole ten years of being vegan ๐Ÿ˜† was the Wicked Kitchen range for Tesco. Hats off to Tesco, there must be some serious back-patting going on over there, as their timing was perfect. 2017 was a pretty good year for vegans but the ride is by no means over. I have to also applaud their insightfulness in collaborating with a plant-based chef, Derek Sarno. I don’t know how these things usually work but I imagine someone tells the food development department to get cracking on something vegan and then out pops a vegan alternative to a usually non-vegan dish made by non-vegans (my apologies if my uninformed sweeping generalisation of how the process works causes offense to anyone that actually works within it!). Not so for this range, there is not a conventional meat or cheese substitute in sight. It takes a lot of thought and true appreciation of ingredients to create something a little divergent. And I actually like that, I know that I can make my own pizza with cheese or a lasagne and sling some soya mince in it etc what I would rather spend my money on is something I couldnโ€™t make or buy from someone who can do it better or differently. The entire range is vegan but in another smart move, the product labelingย is not overtly vegan which could mean more carnis will be diving in too.

Wicked Kitchen Fiery Tofu & Slaw{ Fiery tofu and slaw sandwich – would defo get this again }

Wicked Kitchen{ Kung Fu Bowl – I’m not going to lie the name was the main attraction to this one, but it confused me. It looks like a salad but tasted better heated up }

Wicked Kitchen{ Nana’s mushroom bolognese – solid ready meal option, never used mushrooms as mince I usually go with lentils but will be trying that out myself }

Wicked Kitchenย {Caponata sourdough pizza – this has been my most favourite item from the range so far. I have happily eaten cheeseless pizzas since year zero. If the base, sauce and toppings are top notch cheese is irrelevant }

 


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