Is it Really More Expensive to Be Vegan?

Have you ever heard someone say “I would go vegan, but I just can’t afford it”? Perhaps you’ve had this worry yourself?

Many people have the perception that veganism is expensive, which is a perfectly concern. There’s no getting around it: specialty vegan products like coconut yogurt, soya ice cream, and ‘mock’ meat products like veggie sausages can often be more expensive than their meaty, cheesy counterparts. Many coffee shops charge extra for soy or almond milk (which I am just a tad bitter about). And the word ‘vegan’ often gets mentioned in the same breath as words like ‘organic’ and ‘local’. A lot of dedicated vegan or vegetarian restaurants are committed to these values, and thus, the prices tend to be higher.

But does it have to be this way?  To test my theory that veganism can be just as affordable as an omnivorous diet, I turned to the Tesco online shopping website. I created a basic ‘meal plan’ that could be adapted to either suit a meat-eater, or a vegan, and I filled my basket accordingly.

A few disclaimers:

  • I am aware that some omnivores may not buy as much fresh meat as is included here. I don’t doubt that some omnis will have some meat-free meals as well. As such, this is intended to serve as an example — it’s not a one-size-fits-all grocery basket. I based the vegan list on things that I generally tend to eat in a normal week.
  • In both cases, I have tried to go for the low-cost options, choosing Tesco’s own brand where possible.
  • I have only chosen items that make up the main meals, I have not included snacks, seasonings, oils, etc, assuming that most will have these staples in their pantries already.
  • I am boring and eat the same thing for breakfast most days, and often pack leftovers for lunch.

Without further ado, here are the sample meal plans, and grocery lists!

Vegan
Day 1:Breakfast:Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Avocado, hummus, cucumber, tomato, Spinach wrap

Dinner: Vegetarian chili

Omni
Day 1:Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Turkey wrap with cheese

Dinner: Beef Chili

Day 2:

Breakfast: Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover Chili

Dinner: Veggie fingers, peas, potato

Day 2:

Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover chili

Dinner: Veggie fingers, peas, potato

Day 3:
Breakfast Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Avocado, Hummus, Cucumber, Tomato, Spinach wrap

Dinner: Chickpea curry

Day 3:
Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Avo, Hummus, Cucumber, Tomato wrap

Dinner: Chicken curry

Day 4:

Breakfast Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover curry

Dinner: Vegan spaghetti bolognese with mushrooms and veggie mince

Day 4:

Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover curry

Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese

Day 5:

Breakfast Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover pasta

Dinner: Stir fry with tofu and veggies

Day 5:

Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover pasta

Dinner: Stir fry with chicken and veggies

Day 6:

Breakfast: Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover stir fry

Dinner: Veggie fingers, potato, peas

Day 6:

Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Leftover stir fry

Dinner: Fish fingers, potato, peas

Day 7:

Breakfast: Porridge with almond milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Avocado, Hummus, Cucumber, Tomato, Spinach wrap

Dinner: Root veggie stew
with pearl barley

Day 7:

Breakfast: Porridge with (cows) milk, bananas, peanut butter

Lunch: Turkey wrap with cheese

Dinner: Beef stew

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TOTALS: 
Vegan Basket: £29.37
Omni Basket: £29.29

Conclusions:
My highly scientific study has shown that a vegan’s groceries do not need to be vastly different in price to an omnivore’s! I even splurged a little on some fancy vegan cheese (ooh-la-la). Being vegan can definitely be expensive if you buy lots of specialty products like this, but if you stick to the basic veggies, grains, pulses, and other proteins like tofu and peanut butter, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Buying frozen veggies and dried pulses (like chickpeas) can help cut down on costs even more. Plus, it’s generally healthier to stick to these whole foods rather than becoming overly reliant on processed products.

While there’s no denying that being vegan has the potential be expensive, the important thing to know is that it doesn’t have to be! That means you don’t have to choose between saving animals and saving your money — and that deserves a high five.

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One thought on “Is it Really More Expensive to Be Vegan?

  1. NourishingIndulgence says:

    I hear this a lot too; that being vegan means spending more on groceries. However, I can sincerely say that ever since I turned vegan, my grocery bills have been the same as when I was omnivore, sometimes even lower. It’s true that building a vegan pantry can be a little expensive, but once you have all the staples in your pantry, they only need to be replaced once in a while. My health has significantly improved and I’ve never had any regret 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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