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Vegan Grocery Shopping | Is It Expensive?

september 18, 2016

A lot of people think that vegan food is very expensive and hard to find. But is it really true? Let’s find out!

There is this thought that vegan food is expensive. But from my own experience as a vegan I now actually spend less than before, even though I eat a lot more than I used to. Therefore I want to show you with this blog post how cheap living as a vegan can be. I will break down everything from my shopping list to my expenses and show what organic and non-organic foods I buy.

Buying more, spending less

Before we start, let me mention something. When comparing the price of one kilogram of meat to one kilogram of beans, which one do you think is more expensive? Beans are vegan and cheaper in this case. They are actually one of the cheapest foods you can find. They are also very healthy. Meat on the other hand might be one of the most expensive items in a grocery store. It also is not a health food. With this in mind, you can see that by going vegan it is possible to buy more volumes of food, spend less and eat healthier.

meat vs beans

On the other hand plenty of expensive mock meats and other processed vegan products are now available. Those can be useful for people transitioning to a vegan diet. If you are planning to get mock meats, vegan cheeses and other processed vegan foods on a regular basis know that you might spend more money. The same can happen with organic foods.

In the end a vegan diet can be as cheap and as expensive as you want. It all depends on what kinds of vegan food you buy. Did know that whole food plant based options are one of the cheapest foods out there? Foods like rice, potatoes, beans, pasta, legumes and vegetables. I tend to stay away from the processed foods and in turn it saves me some money.

How do I grocery shop?

I write down all the groceries I want on a list at home. I take my list to the grocery store where I spend most of my time at the produce section gathering all my fruits and vegetables. Then I head towards the tofu and vegan meat section. I rarely eat tofu or vegan meats, but I do love to look at how this aisle is expanding its options. I see more and more vegan hamburgers, chicken nuggets, meatballs and falafels every time! From there on I go to the grain aisle where different kinds of bread and cereals are found. Here I get my oats, very rarely some cereal and even more rarely some bread. A couple of meters away from the grain aisle I pick my favorite plant based milk. At last the only things I look for are rice, noodles, pasta or any kind of snack.

Reading labels

When I started my vegan lifestyle I noticed myself spending more time reading labels than before. I found out that majority of the processed foods come with long ingredient lists and a lot of them contain (traces of) animal ingredients. To avoid reading long ingredient lists to find out whether or not something is vegan I mainly buy whole foods plant based items. Foods like carrots, lettuce, rice, oranges and broccoli for example. They don’t come with ingredient lists on them. Like that I don’t have to worry about animal derived ingredients. This saves me a lot of time!

Ingredients to avoid as a vegan

A couple of very obvious ingredients like meat, fish, chicken, eggs and dairy are to be avoided as a vegan. But there are a lot more ingredients coming from animals that you might have never heard of. Here is a list I found on peta.org with animal ingredients to avoid. Don’t get overwhelmed. Try taking it step by step. Do research on things you don’t know about. Also keep in mind that there always is a vegan alternative to any type of food or drink, so no need to deprive yourself from anything when going vegan.

My shopping list

grocerybagbrownbag

From week to week my shopping list varies. It all depends on what recipes I’m making or what I feel like eating. The foods I regularly get are found in the column FOOD STAPLES(see table down below). Those are some of the foods I will always have at home in my kitchen. In the column FOOD EXTRAS are foods I get less often. I also included the weight or pieces of the items to indicate how much I buy combined with the prices of the organic and non-organic versions.

The prices that I marked with green are the options I primarily choose. The question marks marked in dark yellow/orange indicate I could not find the price of the particular product.

Don’t take this table too seriously! Like I said what I buy can vary over the weeks. Sometimes I buy less, sometimes I buy more. It all depends on different kinds of factors.

shopping list

Food Staples

My food staples include the foods I always feel like consuming. For example rice and bananas are foods I will really miss if they run out. Usually I get Japanese rice or Basmati rice. Although nowadays I’m getting more into organic brown rice.

As you can see I buy most of my vegetables organic. There are various reasons why I choose to eat organic. Not only do I prefer the taste, but it is the healthier option in the long run. I think I will make a blog post with my thoughts about that. I will be sure to link it here. Eventually I want all my groceries to be organic or locally grown.

Extras

All the extra foods that I get are things I don’t buy at every visit to my grocery store. There are a lot more types of vegetables I buy, but not on regular basis for example. I usually will have a stash at home, buy it when I feel like it, buy it to make a nice recipe or I buy it for special occasions.

How much do I spend?

At the moment I’m living together. Groceries need to be done for two persons in total. The amount we pay each week for groceries lies somewhere between €30,- to €60,-. If I would buy everything non organic the price ends up even cheaper.

Organic VS Non organic

There are many mixed opinions on organic vs. non organic foods. It is a very interesting topic of which I want to learn more about. For now I will give you some of my own reasons why I prefer organic foods over non organic.

Taste

As I mentioned in My Food Stapels I would like to eventually buy all my groceries organic, because from my own experiences most of the foods that I have bought organic taste way better then their non organic version. The flavor is richer, texture is better and the overall color of the food is more vibrant and appealing. I have had organic bananas and oranges that were so much sweeter with better texture than the non organic version. Experiencing flavorful foods like that makes it worth to buy organic over non organic.

Nutrition

I think the nutrition value of organic foods are higher than non organic foods, because they are cultivated in better soils which haven’t been sprayed over with pesticides or other chemical bug repellents. Non organic foods tend to be treated with pesticides. The pesticides will not only cover the food, but also get absorbed by them through their roots. I don’t find it safe for my health to be consuming them daily.

Investing in your health

Organic food is usually more expensive than non organic food, but I do think it is worth to buy them. In the end of the day you are investing in your health. And what, may I ask, is more important than your own health? Without health, you can not do much in life. So rather pay for it now, than having to pay for it later. I want to spend my money on good, healthy organic food now instead of paying for medicine or hospital bills later on, because I choose unhealthy junk food instead. I can do this because I prioritize my money on food and not on other material things.

The money we spend on the healthiest foods is an investment in our future health. Pay for it now, or pay for it later. 

So to summarize it all..

I usually do my groceries once a week. On that day I buy my staple foods consisting of mostly whole foods. I spend around 30 to 60 euros each week for a household of two, from which I pay the half. I do my research on the ingredients when I want to get something processed like cereals or snacks. I prioritize my money on organic foods rather than non organic for my health, the planet and my future self.

VEGAN GROCERY SHOPPING VIDEO

Thank you so much for reading! Check out more blog posts while you are at it 🙂

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