The surprising foods you didn’t know were vegan

The surprising foods you didn’t know were vegan
Going vegan’s easier than you might think, with everything from Marmite to brown sauce

Kwasi Kwarteng’s comment last month that he is considering a “full vegan diet” to help tackle climate change might have surprised many who hadn’t tipped the UK’s business secretary and Conservative MP as the most likely of candidates in the fight to save the planet.

Speaking on Times Radio in April, Kwarteng said the rising number of people giving up meat and dairy products was helping to “drive the progress” of the UK’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 78 per cent by 2035.

“The number of people who are vegans, who are reducing their meat intake, is going up all the time,” he said.

“I think that there is a lot of societal change that will actually help us and drive the progress to 2035, where hopefully we will hit the 78 per cent reduction target.”

He’s not alone. A 2020 study by the Vegan Society revealed that one in five (20 per cent) of Britons reduced their meat intake during the pandemic, while 15 per cent have chosen to reduce their dairy and/or egg intake.

Of these, 43 per cent cited a concern for health, environmental or animal rights as their reason for doing so.

Those who share such concerns, but are not ready to take the leap may be surprised to discover that some of their favourite foods may already be vegan. We’ve rounded up some of the most unexpected foods that also happen to be vegan, meaning you can get your snack on, while also helping the planet. Meet you by the serving hatch?

Co-op custard and jam doughnuts

Co-op’s jam and custard doughnuts are suitable for vegans

Miss out on elevenses’ no longer, with the Co-op’s selection of both custard and jam doughnuts. While equivalent doughnuts from other UK supermarkets may be suitable for vegetarians, it’s the Co-op that comes up trumps for vegans.


Packed with folic acid, magnesium and B vitamins – including the elusive B12 vitamin that vegans often lack – this divisive yeast spread is proudly vegan.

Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar

Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar crisps are vegan

A step up from the pedestrian Walkers crisp, Kettle chips are for the discerning snacker and, happily, are entirely suitable for vegans. For those who still desire a ‘meatier’ flavour with their pint, Seabrook’s Beefy crisps and Snaktastic’s Bacon Rashers both taste of meat, but can be enjoyed guilt-free, with yeast flavouring creating a taste that vegans can savour.

HP Brown Sauce

A fried breakfast without HP? Unthinkable. Thankfully, HP’s Brown Sauce is suitable for vegetarians, making a bland brekkie a thing of the past.


Guinness: high in iron

The iconic black dry stout from Ireland announced that their process of making the strong stuff vegan was completed in 2018. It’s also a source of iron, so another win for vegans.

Warburton’s crumpets

Founded in 1876 and still owned by the Warburtons’ family, their crumpets also get the vegan seal of approval, meaning vegans can enjoy these soft and spongy snacks guilt-free.

Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Tate and Lyle’s golden syrup

… and if you’re looking for a sweet topping for your crumpets, look no further than Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is both vegan and utterly delicious for those of us with a sweet tooth.


Vegans are well served when it comes to biscuits, with a broad selection being entirely suitable for the plant-loving consumer. Oreos, Fox’s Party Rings, Lotus Biscoff, Bourbons, McVities Ginger Nuts, Crawfords Pink Wafers, Jammie Dodgers and McVities Hobnobs Choc Chips are all suitable for vegans to dip in their morning cuppa.

Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles

Rowntree’s made their pastilles vegan in 2020

Rowntree’s announced in 2020 that it would be changing its age-old recipe of the classic fruit jelly sweets to a vegan-friendly one. Brand manager Meg Miller commented: “We want the brand to be enjoyed by as many consumers as possible and so we are delighted to be able to introduce our new vegan friendly recipe across the full range of sweets.“ Bonza.

Hubba Bubba

Granted, it may be some time since you’ve blown a bubble, but the good news is that if you’re called to do so again, you can select Hubba Bubba for said purpose as it is certified as vegan.