How Do Vegan Alternatives Impact Your Grocery Bill?

We compare some everyday meat products to see if their vegan alternative is cheaper.

Close-up of a vegan burger on table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Times are tough nowadays. Food prices are skyrocketing, so changing your diet or being more environmentally friendly may be the last thing on your mind. But what if I told you that adding a few vegan alternatives to your weekly shop may save you money alongside helping the earth? Stay tuned as I explain more in this article.

Oxford University researchers have said in countries such as the UK, USA and Australia, adopting a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet could slash your food bill by up to one-third. The research compared the cost of seven eco-friendly diets to the typical diet across 150 countries, using data from the World Bank’s international comparison program. For those who like a nice steak now and then, flexitarian diets with lower meat and dairy cost up to 14% less. 

“I definitely agree that cutting down your meat, or cutting it out completely, will save you money....without doubt, vegan and vegetarian meals consistently come in at a much lower price than recipes with meat.”

Miguel Barclay, author of One Pound Meal

Vegan meatballs on a plate

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Price Comparison

According to Statista, Tesco is the UK’s most popular of the big four supermarkets. So, in this article, I’ll compare the prices of meat products and meat alternatives within Tesco supermarkets. The big four supermarkets price their goods competitively, so the prices will likely be similar. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryMeat OptionVegan option
BurgersTesco 8 Beef Burgers £3.50Tesco Plant Chef 8 Meat Free Burgers £2.25
SausagesRichmond 8 Thick Pork Sausages £2.60Richmond 8 Meat Free Vegan Sausages £2.15
Fish FingersBirds Eye 10 Fish Fingers £3.00 Birds Eye Green Cuisine Fishless Fingers 12 Pack £3.00
HamTesco British Pork Cooked Ham £2.15Squeaky Bean Applewood Smoked Ham Style Slices £2.50
ChickenEastman's Sliced Cooked Chicken £1.95Tesco Plant Chef Meat Free Chicken £1.85
MilkTesco Semi Skimmed Milk 1.13L/2 Pints £1.20Tesco Oat Drink 1 Litre £1.40
CheeseCreamfields Mature White Cheddar 400G £2.55Violife Plant Based Cheddarton 200G £2.75
ButterAnchor Spreadable Blend of Butter and Rapeseed Oil 400g £3.35I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Original Spread 450G £1.50
Overall Cost£20.30£17.40

Verdict

As you can see, vegan alternatives are generally cheaper, other than ham and milk, which are still cheaper on the non-vegan side. Some products, such as vegan fish finger alternatives, even have more in the box. Vegan alternatives also last longer before they go bad, which may help lower household wastage. 

It must be noted that vegan meat alternatives are often lower in saturated fats and cholesterol than meat, which may be a big positive for health-conscious budget shoppers. For information on that regard, check out our tips for saving with healthy eating. I am a vegetarian, but I understand it isn’t for everyone. Still, you don’t have to cut out meat completely. Instead, switch one or two things out to save some money every week and even aid your family's health while helping the planet; it’s a win-win.

If I were to recommend which to switch, it would be Richmond Meat Free Sausages and Birds Eye Green Cuisine Fishless Fingers. Aside from being cheaper and healthier than their meat alternatives, they taste amazing and don’t have the little things like gristle and bones that often appear in meat dishes. For more tips & tricks on saving with your vegan groceries, check out our guide to which supermarket has the cheapest vegan shop or for budget-conscious parents, learn how to save with kids' lunch boxes.

Nathan Walters
Editor

I joined MyVoucherCodes as a Deal Expert, searching the web and sourcing the best deals, discount codes and sales to benefit our readers. I decided to combine these money-saving skills with my love of writing and become an Editor, sharing what I have learned to help you get the most out of your money. Having been a student for four years, I understand the need to budget and get more for less.

In my spare time, I love playing video games and later writing reviews at GameReport. I also enjoy anything to do with technology and cool gadgets, and I'm constantly adding extras and components to my home gaming computer. Additionally, I love DIY, having worked in a tool store as a student, I have grown to enjoy fixing things, whether it’s my car or home.