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26 October 2021

Best vegan burgers: meat-free alternatives

We asked consumers to blind-taste a dozen vegan burgers from the likes of Aldi, Beyond Burger, Co-op, Linda McCartney and Sainsbury's to see which plant-powered meat alternatives are tastiest – and most resemble the real thing
Michael Passingham
Burgers on a barbecue

We’ve tested 12 vegan burgers and found some great-tasting meat-free options that should easily take the place of a beef patty.

If you're aiming to cut down on meat, or already committed to a plant-based diet, our tests reveal the tastiest meat-alternative burgers around. 

In May 2021, we taste tested a dozen meat-free burgers that aim to be a convincing substitute for the real deal, including branded options such as the Beyond Burger, Moving Mountains and Oumph!, as well as supermarket own-label burgers. 

Our tests revealed some cheap supermarket burgers that punch above their weight for taste, and will save on your shopping bill too.

All the burgers had to be suitable for vegans and had to be a meat-substitute; so no bean patties or mixed vegetable cylinders in sight here. Most of the burgers are made from soy, pea or wheat protein, or a combination of these.

Many of the burgers here are available chilled and frozen; we tested the frozen varieties for consistency.

The best meat-free vegan burgers

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the burgers on test.

To get instant access join Which?

All burgers are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Prices correct as of 30 June 2021.

Aldi Plant Menu No Beef Burgers

£1.49 for 2 (227g), 75p per burger

Aldi Plant Menu No Beef Burgers

Aldi’s vegan burgers are the cheapest on test, so if you’re catering for lots of people they could be a great choice. Are they too good to be true?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Aldi.

Beyond Meat Beyond Burger

£5 for 2 (226g), £2.50 per burger

Beyond Meat Beyond Burger

These trendy burgers are among the few here that don’t contain soy, but they’re also by far the most expensive. Do they live up to the price tag and the hype?

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Available at Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Birds Eye Green Cuisine Meat Free Burgers

£2.50 for 2 (200g), £1.25 per burger

Birds Eye Green Cuisine Meat Free Burgers

Birds Eye is relatively new to the meat replacement game, so is its green cuisine the best on the scene? 

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Available at Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco

Co-op Gro The Incredible Burger

£1.85 for 2 (210g), 93p per burger

Co-op GRO Incredible Burger

These chunky soy-based burgers are among the cheapest on test, so should you pop down your local Co-op and grab some?

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Available at Co-op

Iceland The No Meat Company 2 No Bull Quarter Pounders

£2 for 2 (226g), £1 per burger

Iceland The No Meat Company Plant-based No Bull Quarter Pounders

The frozen food stockist has a variety of ‘No Bull’ products in its freezers, but are these burgers up to the task?

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Available at Iceland

Linda McCartney Vegetarian 1/4lb Burgers

£2.20 for 2 (227g), £1.10 per burger

These burgers from the stalwart veggie brand are suitable for vegans. Can these patties beat the newer upstarts?

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Available at Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose

Morrisons The Best Ultimate Meat Free 6oz Burgers

£2.50 for 2 (340g), £1.25 per burger

Morrisons Ultimate Meat Free Burgers

By far the biggest burgers on test, you’d really hope these chunky patties pack a flavour punch.

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Available at Morrisons

Move Over Meat Meat Free Quarter Pounders

£3 for 2 (227g), £1.50 per burger

Move Over Meat Meat Free Quarter Pounders

Move Over Meat says it’s ‘making a difference one meal at a time’. But did our panel taste that difference?

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Available at Waitrose

Moving Mountains Burger

£4 for 2 (227g), £2 per burger

Moving Mountains burgers

Moving Mountains’ burger was previously exclusive to restaurants and pubs, but now we all get the chance to cook them at home. Do they live up to the hype?

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Available at Ocado and Sainsbury’s

Oumph! The Oumph! Burger

£3 for 2 (226g), £1.50 per burger

The Oumph Burger

It might make you go ‘oomph’, but does it also make you go ‘mmm’? Our taste testers had to find out.

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Available at Asda

Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers Ultimate Plant Burgers

£2 for 2 (210g), £1 per burger

Sainsbury's Plant Pioneers Ultimate Plant Burgers

Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers range is growing all the time, but are its staple meat-free burgers the ones to go for?

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Available at Sainsbury’s

Waitrose Chunky Soya Burgers

£1.50 for 2 (227g), 75p per burger

Waitrose Chunky Soya burgers

The second-cheapest on test, Waitrose has undercut the competition on price with its vegan burgers. Let’s hope they taste good as well.

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Available at Waitrose

Are vegan burgers healthy?

Plant-based meat alternatives such as these burgers often sell themselves as good for you and good for the planet, but is that really true? 

We asked Which? nutrition expert Shefalee Loth to cast her eye over the ingredients list of these meat-free burgers. This is what she said:

'These burgers contain mainly soya, pea protein or a mix of both. These are good plant-based proteins but won't be suitable for people with soya allergies. Some of the burgers also contain wheat protein, which won’t be suitable for those with wheat or gluten allergies.

'However, just because these burgers are plant-based don't assume they are healthier than a beef burger. The Beyond Burger, for example, has more fat and saturated fat weight-for-weight than a typical steak burger. That's because oil is one of the main ingredients of these burgers – it increases palatability and without it the burgers would be very dry.'

Also worth noting is the fact that the vegan versions typically contain more salt and sugar than a beef burger, which is important to consider if you’re watching your intake. On the plus side, fibre content – essential for a health diet – is way up on the beef equivalent in many of the burgers. 

Are vegan burgers sustainable?

They’re certainly more sustainable than beef burgers, which with modern farming methods require intensive land use not just for the cows themselves, but the feed they consume. 

As ever with anything where the environment is a factor in your decision, there are myriad issues to think about, and those eagle-eyed veggie burger fans may well have spotted that a fair portion of the products we taste tested contain soya protein. Soya has been linked to deforestation in South America, which itself contributes to a loss of biodiversity and exacerbates climate change. 

Image showing man-made deforestation

However, it is important to take into account the scale of the problem. The vast majority of soya grown in South America is used for animal feed, and it is the animals themselves, processing the feed and excreting it as greenhouse gas (GHG). Some 90% of the three million tonnes of soya imported into the UK is used for animal feed. It also takes a lot more soya to feed an animal to make it ready for slaughter, while eating the soya yourself entirely cuts out the middleman (or pig, or sheep). Moving Mountains, for example, claims its burgers have a 92% lower CO2 footprint than beef, and require 70% less water.

Other burgers on this list use pea and wheat proteins, which should have less of an impact than soya protein if it is of great concern. But also keep in mind that whichever brand you choose will likely have a sustainability commitment that specifically references soya. For example, this is Tesco’s and this is Waitrose’s. If in doubt, contact your chosen brand’s customer services and they’ll almost certainly have a response they can share.

As ever, there are more considerations you should make if sustainability is something you’re concerned about. Minimising waste, avoiding food that travels by air freight, and generally eating more plant foods (not just fake meat, but actual fruit and veg) are all easy ways to minimise your impact. Read our guide to making your diet more planet friendly for more stats, facts and advice.

Are vegan burger packs recyclable?

Most vegan burgers come in a cardboard box, which can usually go in your household recycling bin.

Beyond Burgers come in a plastic tray with plastic film. Only some councils will accept plastic trays in household recycling waste, so it’s best to check beforehand. Plastic film isn’t recyclable, so you’ll need to remove it before putting the tray in your recycling bin.

How we tested vegan burgers

The products were assessed by a large panel of consumers who regularly consume burgers. 

The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK, and included a mix of non meat eaters and those looking to reduce their meat intake.

All the burgers were cooked according to the pack’s instructions ‘for best results’, or if no specific recommendation was supplied they were shallow-fried to the pack’s instructions.

The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one.

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. 

The order they sampled the burgers was fully rotated to avoid any bias. 

Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others. 

The overall score is based on:

  • Flavour: 50%
  • Appearance: 20%
  • Texture: 15%
  • Aroma: 15%