I'm only vegan for the money

I've been a vegetarian since the turn of the century. I always felt like I should probably be vegan but, you know, cheese is delicious.

Then, without warning, my body decided that producing the human lactase enzyme was for losers. Stupid body! No more cheese for me 😭

The UK has come on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. When I first became a salad-aficionado, the vegetarian options in most restaurants was either a mushroom risotto or to go hungry. Nowadays, even the most ardently pro-carnivore establishment has a range of veggie- and vegan-friendly dishes.

I am a dietary vegan. Due to my health condition, I abstain from milk. I saw a Tweet the other day which made me wonder how many people in the UK will become economic vegans?

The price of dairy milk is now at parity with oat-milk and soya-milk. Yes, I'm sure there are some things for which plant milk is unsuitable. But if you're a "splash of white stuff in my coffee" kinda person, or "drench my cornflakes with something wet and tasty" milk user, then a swap to plant-milk may make economic sense.

(Yes, most plant milks are fortified with the vitamins and minerals you'd get from bio-lactations.)

Even if you ignore all the environmental benefits of switching from cow-milk to plant-milk, it's hard to ignore the benefit to your bank balance.

The meat-substitute "Quorn" was originally part of a programme to prevent mass-starvation. Researchers foresaw a population explosion and a meat-protein shortage. Without a cheap and nutritious source of protein, people would suffer.

At retail, Quorn is about £6/Kg for 13% protein. Beef mince is about £4.50/Kg for 18% protein. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is about £5/kg for 47% protein. Chicken breast is about £6/Kg for 30% protein.

So, depending on your needs and preferences, it may save you money to switch to a vegetarian/vegan source of protein. Of course, their prices also fluctuate.

But, yeah, change is scary. If you know that you like one specific brand, you'll be reluctant to change.

If you have sensory issues, it might be difficult or impossible to try something else.

And, sure, learning how to cook something new is complicated. But a veggie burger is cooked in exactly the same way as a beef burger. And sandwich filler is just thin slices of pink "stuff".

To be clear, I don't really care if you go veggie or not. I do it for my own reasons - mostly health and ethical. And I'm sure your reasons for staying omnivorous make perfect sense to you.

Anyway, next time you're browsing the aisles of your supermarket, take a look at some of the vegan alternatives. Chances are you'll find some things are cheaper than the non-vegan equivalent.

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4 thoughts on “I'm only vegan for the money”

  1. says:

    T3sco ‘Plant Chef’ pea protein burgers are amazing, £1.30 for two large patties. We eat them now instead of meat for the taste/texture, not for any other good reason.

  2. says:

    Over the last few years, I've switched over to a much more balanced diet with less meat and more fruit and vegetables. Many of my previous food choices were primarily from habit; if I'm honest, I was eating more than I needed, again out of habit.

    It has been an informative journey as we've tried out various options and alternatives. While some vegetarian and vegan options still leave something to be desired, those are now the exception. We still have some meat and cheese, but now we enjoy it more because we can taste it properly if that makes sense. And it turns out we're filled up even with smaller meal servings.

    While our changes have been mainly from a desire to become healthier, there's no denying the economic impacts of eating differently (and making the food we buy go further). I suspect you may be right about more folks making changes primarily on economic grounds. Many may find they quite like those changes and don't feel a need to go back. Literally voting with their wallets!

  3. DinoNerd says:

    I've noticed an ever increasing number of fake meats - highly processed plant based meat substitutes carefully crafted to resemble some particular meat as closely as possible. Being in the United States, there's a tendency for grocery stores to mix them in with the real meat, and label them in ways that could easily confuse shoppers into thinking that they are meat. I don't know whether the prices are higher, lower, or the same as the particular meat they imitate.

    Personally, I'd much rather eat the plants without the processing. I've never yet eaten a fake meat that tasted exactly like the real thing. I have no sense of the extent to which the nutrient profile is or is not similar. My health allows me to eat meat, and while I wish we were culturally capable of farming in ways that were less cruel to the animals, it's not a strong enough wish for me to stop buying meat.

    What I do, instead, is use a lot less of it. A little meat in a large pot of beans goes a long way. And not every meal needs to include meat, or even a protein heavy meat analogue (tofu, cheese, beans, etc.)


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