Last year more than half a million people around the world gave up meat and dairy products for January, according to Veganuary.com. But how much did they have to spend?
If you’re thinking about joining in on Veganuary in 2022, you might be concerned about the impact meat and dairy-free products might have on your bank balance.
When we surveyed 1,068 meat-eating Which? members in June, 57% thought a vegan diet would be more expensive than their own. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Here, we share six expert tips on keeping Veganuary affordable, from the cheapest meat substitutes to simple swaps you can make in staple meals.
1. Shop around for meat substitutes
Supermarket aisles are now overflowing with vegan options. And while some might be expensive, they do come at a range of price-points.
While Beyond Burger cost £5 for two, Asda own-label Plant Based Vegan Beef Style Burger come in at just £1.75 for eight.
In fact, many supermarkets now sell own-brand vegan burgers and sausages that work out at as little as 17p each.
Here’s a list of cheap vegan sausages and burgers you can find at your local supermarket.
|Product (weight)||Number of sausages||Average price per pack*||Average price per sausage*|
|Heck Meat-Free Vegan Sausages (300g)||10||£2||20p|
|Richmond Meat-Free Vegan Sausages (336g)||8||£2.25||29p|
|Morrisons V Taste Meat-Free Sausages (300g)||6||£1.49||25p|
|Aldi Plant Menu Onion & Rosemary Sausages (300g)||6||99p||17p|
*Prices checked on 21 December 2021. Lowest price taken where available from multiple retailers.
|Product (weight)||Number of burgers||Price per pack*||Price per burger*|
|Aldi Plant Menu Ultimate No Beef Burgers (227g)||2||£1.49||75p|
|Tesco Plant Chef Meat-Free Burgers (340g)||2||£1.30||65p|
|Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers No-Beef Burgers (454g)||8||£1.75||22p|
|Asda Plant-Based Vegan Beef-Style Burgers (454g)||8||£1.75||22p|
*Prices checked on 21 December 2021.
As well as being cheaper, these own-label vegan burgers can often taste better than their branded competitors.
- Find out which own-brand burger won our Which? taste test: best vegan burgers reviewed
2. Swap in beans and pulses
Going vegan isn’t all about swapping meat for fake meat. Many vegans and vegetarians eat healthy diets while never touching meat substitutes.
Instead, they make meals with other sources of protein, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
You can buy 1kg bags of lentils for around £1.80 to £2 at most supermarkets, or you can get them tinned for around 50p to £1. Tinned chickpeas usually cost about the same.
- Find out more: how to make your diet more planet-friendly
3. Shop at the cheapest supermarket
No matter what time of year, or what diet you’re eating, you can always save money by shopping at a cheaper supermarket.
Last month, Aldi came out on top in our cheapest supermarket analysis. It was followed closely by Lidl and Asda.
Waitrose was at the other end of the table as the most expensive place to get your groceries.
- Find out more: which was the cheapest supermarket in November?
4. Check the discount aisle
Plant-based food expires, too. Just as you can find near-expiry meat and fish in the yellow sticker section, you might find vegan products as well, so it’s worth taking a look before you start your shop.
- Find out more: how to save money on food bills this winter
5. Buy in bulk
You’re giving up meat for a whole month (and maybe longer if you find that you enjoy the vegan lifestyle), so why not stock up on essentials at the start?
Buying big bags of lentils, multipacks of canned foods and taking advantage of multibuy discounts could save you money in the long run. Just make sure you only buy what you need, or you could end up accidentally overspending this way.
- Find out more: how to spend less at the supermarket
6. Eat out cheaply
Going vegan doesn’t have to mean eating at home every day. Most restaurants these days offer plant-based menu options – even fast food chains.
McDonald’s McPlant burger (available in selected restaurants only), for example, costs the same as a Big Mac (£3.49), so you don’t need to worry about making a booking at fancy restaurants if you want vegan food while you’re out and about. Although that is an option if you fancy a treat.
- Find out more: what vegan options do restaurant chains offer?