When first transitioning to a vegan diet navigating the supermarket can feel like a challenge.
There are a few main animal based ingredients to look out for when selecting packaged goods. Milk powder, honey, gelatine and oyster sauce (among others) can be hidden in un suspecting products such as breads, sauces and even snack foods.
It’s also best to be cautious of additives as these can sometimes be of animal origin. The easiest thing to do when searching for a additive is a quick google of the number eg. ‘E100 vegan?’ . It will often come with an instant result. The website simplifyvegan is fantastic for this information.
I’ve put together a list of vegan friendly supermarkets products, tips & tricks to help you navigate your first plant based supermarket shop.
This list doesn’t cover all the vegan supermarket products by any means, there are far too many! I’ve included products either I use on a weekly basis or those that I’m aware of. It will be a good start to helping you in your first supermarket shop and getting in the swing of things. Browsing this list you may even spot some products you regularly buy and perhaps had no idea they were vegan.
Make sure to check the ingredients at time of purchase to confirm none of the ingredients have changed (don’t worry, this will get much easier to spot over time!)
An animal product that you need to look out for when purchasing a loaf of bread is milk powder. However the below brands are either 100% vegan friendly or provide quite the range.
- Ploughman’s – All of the standard bread range.
- Freya’s – All of the standard bread range.
- Vogel’s – Sunflower & Barley, Soy & Linseed, Spelt & Flaxseed and Sprouted Grains loaves.
- Venerdi – All breads in the Gluten Freedom range as well as the organic Activated six seed sourdough.
- Burgen – TBC
- Countdown supermarkets – bakery section is well labelled with vegan & vegetarian goods
- New World supermarkets – bakery section baguette is vegan, all breads are made by individual stores so you will have to enquire directly. In my experience they are often able to share a ingredients list without trouble.
- Mackenzie sprouted grains & white rye buns.
- Countdown bakery section buns and baps (individually labelled).
Tacos, Burritos & Wraps
- Farrah’s wrap range – All standard wrap products except ‘Garlic butter’. They are well labelled.
- Countdown Macro range – Mexican Tortillas Burrito, Mexican Jumbo Tortilla
Bagels & Pita Breads
- Abes Bagels – The Natural, The Sesame, The Everything, The Blueberry, The Cinnamon & Raisin and The Double Choc.
- Dannys Pita Breads – Original, Wholemeal and Lebanese Pita Breads and Oat Bran minis.
Vegan Cereal and Granola
Cereals often contain dairy products or honey, therefore can be difficult to navigate the wide range of options avaliable. The list below is a selection of the vegan friendly options available, there is no doubt many more if you hunt around.
- Kellogg’s – All Bran, Coco Pops, Nutri Grain, Corn flakes, Rice Bubbles and Sultana Bran among others are vegan friendly. Thankfully Kellogg’s have a full vegan list located here.
- Sanitarium – A wide range of confirm vegan cereals.
Below is a list are fully vegan friendly and made on a different line to non-vegan cereals:
Weet-Bix (except 30g breakfast pack)
Ricies (except 22kg breakfast pack)
Skippy Cornflakes (except 25kg breakfast pack and 10kg value pack)
Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering
Weet-Bix Gluten FreeThe below cereals do not contain animal derived ingredients. However, they are made on the same line as products that do contain animal derived ingredients and therefore may contain small traces (dairy and honey).
Cluster crisp -triple berry, vanilla almond
Low GI Granola- strawberry and coconut, golden almond crunch, cocoa and roasted hazelnut
High Fibre Granola- Canadian maple and raspberry
Light N Tasty- golden almond
Museli- nuts and seeds
Super Seeds Museli- nuts and seeds
Ricies- 22g breakfast pack only
Skippy cornflakes- 25g breakfast pack and 10kg value pack only
Weet-Bud- 30g breakfast pack only
- Hubbard’s – The Granola range. As well as no added sugar options, Fig & Apple, Date & Almond, 5 grains and Hazelnut and Raspberry & Cacao clusters are vegan friendly.
- Be Natural – Berry Bliss Granola, Coco-nutty Granola, Nutty Granola and the Low Sugar Granola are vegan friendly. All other products in the range contain honey.
- Blue Frog – All of them except the 3 Manuka Honey and the Plum as it contains marine collagen.
- Ceres Organics – Organic Bircher Muesli, Apricot & Almond, Golden Crunch, Cacao Crunch and Wild Berry
- Pure Delish – TBC
Vegan/Dairy free Milk
There are many plant based milks, often sold in tetra packs in a non chilled isle. They’re long lasting, you don’t need to keep them in the fridge and when you’ve found your favourite type you can even start to make your own at home.
Oat, Almond, Rice, Coconut, Soy, Hemp and Cashew are all stocked in my local supermarket with many brands to choose from. I’m personally a big oat milk fan so can recommend the below:
Oat milk recommendations that froth well for hot drinks:
Most vegan yoghurts on the market in New Zealand are coconut based and made locally. Below are some fantastic brands to check out.
- Raglan coconut yoghurt – All products are vegan and available in reusable glass jars. As well as the standard range of flavours Boysenberry, Blueberry, Vanilla and Passionfruit they also have a range of dessert yoghurts including flavours raspberry & lime and vegan caramel. Raglan are a 100% vegan company based in NZ.
- Cathedral cove naturals – All products are vegan in reusable glass jars and NZ made by a fully vegan company. As well as a Natural coconut yoghurt the flavours include Boysenberry & Chia, Vanilla & Chia, Rsapberry & Chia, Plant Protein and my personal favourite Banoffee Coconut Yoghurt.
- Little Island – Summer fruits, Vanilla Bean, Natural and Berry. All products are vegan, NZ made.
- The Collective plant yoghurt – This dairy company now has a fully plant based range including Natural, Boysenberry, Passionfruit and Fudge. They also have a plant based Greek style Vanilla and Greek Style Berry.
Vegan Ice cream
In the last few years the vegan ice cream range has exploded, with a wide range to select from. I’ve listed a few well known favourites below that are available in most New Zealand supermarkets. They’re often located in their own section which is super helpful!
- Little Island – 100% dairy free coconut ice cream in a wide range of flavours from Vanilla bean to Toasted Coconut Caramel & Cookies.
- Trumpet – Vegan and Gluten free, Boysenberry or Chocolate.
- Ben & Jerrys – Chocolate caramel cluster, Chocolate chip cookie dough, Chocolate fudge brownie, Peanut butter & cookies and Caramel fudge chocolate.
- Duck Island – Salted caramel brownie, Coconut caramel sesame chocolate peanuts, Coconut chocolate, Mango passionfruit sorbet, Chocolate cherry chunk, Black sticky rice, Coffee coconut cream, Coconut vanilla and Strawberry coconut lime kaffir.
- Magnum – Almond or Plain.
- Killinchy Gold Dairy Free range – Mint chocolate, Salted caramel & cashew, Strawberry & boysenberry and Chocolate hokey pokey.
Cheese is noted as one of the main barriers to transitioning to a vegan diet, so it can be important to find a dairy free alternative you enjoy. Dairy free cheeses are best when thinly grated, melted and used sparingly as you don’t need too much per use to get the flavour.
My personal favourite is the Zenzo Mozzarella for it’s texture and taste. The Angel Food cream cheese is also worth a try, very tasty.
- Angel food – Dairy free mozzarella, dairy free cheddar, dairy free cream cheese and dairy free parmesan. They also make a cheesy sauce mix available in a packet.
- Zenzo – Dairy free Mozzarella, dairy free cheddar as well as Dairy free sour cream and mayo.
A wide range of vegan friendly chocolate is accessible from New Zealand supermarkets, for the same price as ‘regular chocolate’ because it is! One of my favourite vegan food facts to share is that apart from the salted caramel, all Whittaker’s chocolate 50% and over is vegan friendly.
- Whittaker’s – 50% Dark Block, 50% Rum & Raisin, 62% Dark Almond, 72% Dark Ghana, 72% Dark Ghana Fruit & Nut and 72% Ghana Peppermint.
Artisan range – Black Doris Plum & Roasted Almond, Fijian Ginger & Kerikeri Mandarin and Wellington Roasted Coffee Supreme.
Mini size – Dark Orange and Almond & Cranberry.
- Green & Blacks – Smooth Dark, Dark 85% Cocoa, Orange & Almond and my personal favourite, Raspberry & Hazelnut
- Lindt – Blocks that are 70% and over.
Chips/crisps can often be made with milk powder. If the ingredients state ‘may contain traces of milk..” then this is suitable for vegan, as the ingredient is listed for allergy reasons rather than the use of. My two go-to brands are listed below.
- Proper Crisps – The entire Proper Crisp range is vegan friendly, gluten & GMO free. (and not to mention delicious!!). Made locally in Nelson, New Zealand they have a compostable corn chip range as well as classic flavours such as Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt. Proper Crisps have also just released a their take on the ‘kiwi classic chicken chips’ in a flavour called ‘Free Range Sage & Onion’.
- Mexicano Corn Chips – Tasty Salsa, Thai Sweet Chilli, Multigrain, Salted and Natural are all vegan friendly. Made locally in Lower Hutt, Wellington NZ.
Similar to chips, milk powder is the main ingredient you need to look out for in crackers, along with milk fats and chicken/flavouring. Milk powder is used to ‘stick flavouring to food’ but the vegan options seem to work fine without it!
- Peckish – Wide range of rice crackers, some of which are labelled suitable for vegans & vegetarians. Salt & Vinegar and Thai Sweet Chilli are my favourites.
- Huntly and Palmers – Sprouted Oat with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary. And other types TBC.
- Ceres Organics – Rice crackers and rice rounds. All 100& organic and vegan.
Vegan Snacks – Popcorn, Museli bars, Bliss balls and Lollies
Thankfully, most popcorn and new snack products on the market in NZ are well labelled with vegan friendly labels. Below are a few popular options.
- Serious popcorn – the range is 100% vegan, made in NZ and delicious!
- Harvest snaps – Salt & Vinegar and Original flavour are both vegan.
- Tasti bars – The Made Simple range is entirely vegan, as well as the Made Simple Protein range and Smooshed wholefood balls.
- Frooze Balls – Plant powdered energy balls made in NZ. All flavours are vegan friendly and affordable! I would share my personal favourites, but I can’t choose they’re all tasty.
- Tom & Luke – The entire Snackaballs range is vegan friendly, made locally and packed full of flavour.
- Lollies -The Natural Confectionery Co Jelly Sweets Vegan Fruit Mix and The Natural Confectionery Co Jelly Sweets Sour Patch Kids.
Vegan Honey swaps
Not all those transitioning to a plant based diet cut out honey however if you are looking to, below are some great alternatives to use in baking etc. I personally prefer to use them and avoid honey to be ‘as vegan as possible‘.
- Brown Rice Syrup – Ceres Organics Malt Brown Rice Syrup
- Maple Syrup – Ceres Organics Maple Syrup, Whole Harry and Countdown !00% pure maple syrup.
- Date paste – Camel dates
Additional supermarket products:
- Hummus/Pesto – Obeja and Lisa’s hummus both have a range of vegan friendly hummus’s, often labelled accordingly. When selecting a hummus or pesto look out for honey or milk in the ingredients list, this is particularly common in some of the cheaper brands (such as Just Hummus).
- Fridge/Freezer goods – There is a wide range of vegan friendly products available in the fridge and freezer sections. Including vegan sausages, burger patties, pies, marinated tofu, dumplings, burritos etc. Depending on the supermarket, they’re often located it their own plant based section and are easy to find.