Vegans in supermarkets can often be spotted peering intently at the fine print on a packet of biscuits or a tin of soup, a slight frown on their face as they try to work out whether or not it contains animal-derived ingredients.
Checking ingredient lists on products is an inevitable part of eaing vegan. But with a little practice, you’ll soon be racing through your weekly shopping trip, scanning labels at lightning speed, and filling up your trolley with cruelty-free treats like there’s no tomorrow!
We’ve put together a few pointers on finding vegan foods at Australia’s biggest supermarkets. Of course, all these stores sell a huge variety of staples, including fruits, vegetables, rice and grains, pasta sauces, cereals, and much more that vegans can enjoy. Below, we’ve noted some additional highlights.
Please note that companies sometimes change the recipes and ingredients of their products, so while the information below was correct at the time of publication, always double-check before you buy.
This store has lots of vegan options, and most of them are available nationwide. You’ll find delicious vegan pies, nuggets, and schnitzels in the freezer section as well as meat-free sausages and deli slices, stir-fry strips, burger patties, falafel, and tofu in the refrigerated area. Or even go into the meat section to find the Made With Plants or Naturli mince– it’s vegan, we promise! You can find everything from cheddar blocks to mozzarella shreds to feta cheese that’s dairy free as well as coconut yoghurt and so many plant-based milks in the Long Life aisle. In terms of ice cream, Woolworths has something to cure all cravings, including non-dairy flavours from Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, Cornettos and Australia’s own vegan ice cream sensation, Over the Moo – in addition to Weis’ dairy-free tubs, bars, and sorbets!
Brands to look for:
- Refrigerated: Vegie Delights, Made With Plants, Unreal Co, Fable, V2, Sunfed, Plant Asia, Naturli, Bean Supreme, Plantitude, Yumi, Sheese, Bio Cheese, Soy Life, Cocobella, Nakula, Coyo, Super Nature, Wildly Good, Meliora
- Freezer (savoury): Fry’s, Quorn, Linda McCartney, Vegie Delights, Syndian, Veef, Ruffie Rustic Food.
- Freezer (sweet): Magnum, Cornetto, Plantitude, Sanitarium So Good, Ben & Jerry’s, Weis, Halo Top.
- Pantry: Plant-Based Milo, Woolworths Free From Gluten items.
You can find a great variety of products here that make for easy vegan meals – from the Birds Eye plant based chicken strips, tenders and mince, the Quorn vegan range, Get Plant’d pepperoni slices, to Fry’s burger patties, nuggets, and sausage rolls. Coles also has its own range of ready-made vegan freezer meals and vegan dumplings, and in the fridge section, a homebrand coconut yoghurt. And you know those family packs of Anzac Biscuits you always used to have when you were a kid? You guessed it – they’re vegan, too! Vegan Tim Tams and Mint Slice biscuits can typically be found in the health-food aisle.
Brands to look for:
- Refrigerated: Vegie Delights, Sunfed, COYO, Bio Cheese, Nature’s Kitchen, Next! (in the meat section), Beyond, Herb & Son, Naturli, Meet, Future Farm, Harvest Gourmet, Plantry
- Freezer (sweet): Golden Gaytime Plant Based, Connoisseur Plant Based, Pana, Sanitarium So Good, Proud & Punch, Magnum, Peter’s Plant Based Drumsticks, Sara Lee Joy Vegan Creamy Coconut Key Lime Pie, Coles Dairy Free Coconut & Mango Ice Cream Sticks, Coles Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Peanut Ice Cream
- Freezer (savoury): Fry’s, Quorn, Coles, Syndian, Birds Eye Plant Based range
- Pantry: Vegan Lindt Chocolate, Leda, Coles Vegan Sauce range, Orgran, Nescafe Oat, Almond or Coconut latte coffee sachets, Plant Based Milo
Popular plant-based products at Aldi include its Simply Vegetarian Burgers and Sausages, Falafel Bites, and Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Bites. Vegans looking for sweet treats are never disappointed with Moser Roth Dark Chocolate varieties, Yoconut Dairy Free yoghurt and ice cream, or Hillcrest Bubble Bars. And you also won’t find tofu cheaper anywhere else!
Brands to look for: Simply Vegetarian, Just Organic, Moser Roth, and Inner Goodness Dairy Free Cheese, Plant Collective.
The stock at these stores can vary according to demand in your location, but they’re known for having some vegan items that you won’t find in the larger supermarkets. Because they’re usually franchised, making product requests to management can really pay off!
These are often underutilised resources for vegans wanting to recreate animal-free versions of old favourite meals. Head to the frozen section to find Lamyong Vegetarian Health Food vegan “meats” such as faux prawns, salted crispy “chicken,” faux calamari, chicken-free nuggets, and TVP beef slices and mince.
Specialty Vegan Supermarkets
Because of the huge demand for vegan food, the number of specialty vegan grocery stores is always growing. The Vegan Grocery Store has stores in Sydney and Melbourne. All About Empathy in Sydney also stocks a massive range of vegan delights, and Brisbane’s The Green Edge is stocked to the ceiling with all kinds of treats. Check out the variety at Vegan Perfection in Melbourne, or pop into your local health-food shop – such as Flannery’s – to explore the plethora of available plant-based delights. Sydneysiders are even lucky enough to have a completely vegan butcher in town!
“May contain”–type labels can cause confusion. Generally, these labels are added for the benefit of people with severe allergies and simply indicate that the product was manufactured in an environment where allergens were present – meaning there’s a chance that a minuscule amount could end up in the product. Most vegans don’t avoid foods with “may contain milk/egg” labels.
Most non-vegan ingredients are easy to spot. However, there are a few sneaky animal-derived ones that not everyone knows about:
- Gelatine (made from the boiled skin, tendons, and ligaments of animals)
- Albumen (usually made from eggs)
- Casein, lactose, and whey (all derived from cows’ milk)
- Carmine and shellac (made from ground-up insects – yuk!)
Happy vegan shopping, everyone!
Here are more great vegan resources: