In recent years, January has become the month to try eating a vegan diet and avoid meat, dairy and eggs. If you’re up for the Veganuary challenge, Co-op’s here to help.

Did you know moving towards a more plant based diet can have benefits for your personal health and the health of the planet too? The lower the meat, fish and dairy content, the lower the environmental impacts. But making the change and finding vegan food conveniently can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, so with the help of Aoife McKernan, Co-op’s Assistant Diet and Health Manager, we’ve pulled together some pointers on what you can find in our stores.
Aoife says:

“It’s not just hummus and carrot sticks, you can find so much more at the Co-op, including vegan wines, new ready meals, doughnuts and dairy-free milk. So look out for the ‘V’ symbol on Co-op products which indicates they’re vegan or vegetarian.”

If you do try to go vegan this month, it’s really important your reduced meat intake is replaced with loads of different whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and pulses. Aoife says we need to make sure we keep a balanced intake of all our key food groups: 

The Government’s Eat Well guide  shows you what your breakdown should be and encourages you to eat more beans, pulses and nuts – these are great ways to get protein and fibre.”

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration on where to start, as always you can rely on or check out our Co-op Food magazine which regularly features some great meat free recipes.

For lunch, Aoife says check out some of our delicious Co-op food-to-go salads: “WeCauliflower and Coconut Pot’ve really got a fantastic selection nowadays – top of the list from me would be our Co-op Vegan Cauliflower and Coconut Meal Pot – it’s got mixed grains with cauliflower, coconut milk, broccoli, lentils, red pepper, roasted sweet potato and mango chutney with a blend of spices. It’s so delicious and recently won a Good Choice Q award! If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, try our Vegan Onion Bhaji Sandwich – it’s just mouth-wateringly good.” For dinner, check out our website for inspiration.
If you’re looking for a quick tea, then why not try one of our delicious ready meals or soups? Aoife recommends our Co-op Balance Mushroom Risotto, our Co-op Vegetable Jalfrezi, or our Co-op Irresistible Tuscan Tomato and Lentil Soup. Aoife also told us: Or grab yourself a bag of your favourite pasta and have it with one of our tasty chilled pasta sauces such as Tomato and Basil, Arrabbiata or Chunky.”


If you want to find out a bit more about some of the environmental and health benefits of reducing meat intake check out the Eating Better Coalition website. You can also calculate your carbon footprint and see how you match up against the UK average.
For information on following a vegan diet, you can also check out these websites:

Join the conversation! 32 Comments

  1. I read an interesting article recently that suggests the benefits to the environment to going vegan are minimal and if everyone decided to go vegan the impact on the environment and infrastructure and industry would be just as unsustainable as the current situation.
    It was very interesting…

  2. As a vegan that works for Co-Op I’m really pleased to see more products marked as suitable for vegans arriving in our food stores (although some serious work is required to beat Tesco’s latest vegan product range launch).

    Aside from new products, Co-Op already does some great things that I believe we should share more with customers who are or are thinking about becoming vegan. In fact I think we should be shouting this from the rooftops as no one seems to know (coming from my experience as a vegan who speaks to other vegans about being vegan, because I’m vegan and therefore tell everyone about my being vegan)!

    1. Co-Op own brand house and beauty products are certified by Cruelty Free International. For many people, being vegan isn’t just about food, it’s about trying to avoid all animal cruelty which obviously includes not purchasing products that have been tested on animals. I’m sure that a lot of people considering going vegan would be pleased to hear that cruelty free products don’t have to be expensive and only available online or in specialist stores.

    2. Co-Op bakery jam and custard doughnuts are vegan. You don’t need to develop new products. Just spread the word and there will be a stampede of doughnut deprived vegans through the doors. So is the frozen apple strudel, but for some reason this seems to be a secret (like with the doughnuts).

    3. Lots of Co-Op wines are vegan. I know this is mentioned in the article but we should advertise this more as, again, no one seems to know.

    4. Co-Op supports Fair Trade. Not strictly vegan but if you are concerned about the ethics of eating animals it is likely that you also care about how the people that grew your tea / coffee / chocolate are treated and that they get a fair price for their produce.

  3. This is such a great article, thanks for writing it and promoting Co-op Vegan friendly products. Love that Co-op doughnuts are vegan – its not just all about salads!
    It’s also really good to see the facts around why becoming vegan is better for your health, the environment and for promoting compassion – something I think we all definitely need at this time!

  4. Is there any initiative for the co-op to do more gluten free daily products e.g, sandwiches/lunches on food to go? There was only one turkey wrap over Christmas and now there is nothing.

    • Today (10 January) we’ve launched four gluten free Co-op products:
      – Free From Chicken Caesar Sandwich
      – Free From Cheese & Tomato Sandwich
      – Free From Tomato & Red Pepper Chicken Pasta Salad
      – Bircher Mueseli Pot

      Many thanks,


      • And how much more is the free from tax going to be to make these products more than their normal counter parts?
        It was a joke that the only gluten free wrap that you sold wasn’t in the meal deal and cost more than any other item in the lunch menu range and was limited time only.
        Co-op seems to be at odds when it makes nearly its entire meat products range to be gluten free but then stops selling almost all gluten free bread products, its great that I can buy gluten free burgers but why bother when I have to go elsewhere to buy the burger baps.
        Left hand very much not talking to the right hand here.

        • I agree with your point I have to say, its much better when a retailer providers the end to end experience for the customer. At the end of the day being Coeliac is not a life/ diet choice it is a medical condition that if not looked after can result in illness and immense discomfort.

      • That’s great will they be in store in Angel Square soon ?

  5. Anything you really enjoy is bad for you, according to some people. I grew up with a really balanced diet – I was taught that, as long as I had plenty of fruit and veg and regular exercise, I could eat pretty much whatever I like. I’ve done this – I eat anything and everything, I’m 64 and have been blessed with good health so far. You could make a case for anything to be bad or good for you.

  6. Please keep the onion bhaji vegan sandwich. I’m a meat eater but its lovey!

    • That’s vegan? It’s nice, but I thought there was too much carrot in it. Carrot overload, not enough Bhaji, and certainly not spicy enough. I want a bit of heat from a Bhaji sandwich!!!

  7. My vegan friend once came round to my house to inspire us and try to change our minds on vegan food. She cooked us a vegan chilli and made a “cheese sauce” out of carrots.
    The chilli was like a tasteless baby food mush. and the “cheese sauce” wasn’t touched by anyone, including my vegan friend as she couldn’t even stomach how awful it was.

    We ordered a take away after she went home.

    No regrets.

  8. I tried Vegan food over the Xmas period as my partner really cares for her body and what she puts in it (she tried to limit her meat intake to once a week, apart from special occasions). I found that it was not as boring as it sounds.

  9. Vegetables are bad for the environment, because tractors burn diesel.

    • Correct – also they have so many pesticides sprayed onto them, that tomatoes now have a 98% chance to believe they are in fact a cucumber. It saddens me greatly.

  10. I love vegans, more meat for me

  11. No.

  12. Such a good article.
    Being vegan is so much better for you, speaking from experience.
    I don’t really agree with throwing yourself into it straight away though and doing a whole month totally vegan. I would recommend a couple days a week vegan and increase this over a few months.
    Its a big life style change and not really a ‘diet’
    Read into it, stock up on ingredients and recipe books! 🙂

    And as for the people scared of going vegan because of what other people say about vegans …’vegans always have to brag that their vegan’, or ‘let the world know their vegan’, ‘vegans are so annoying’ … don’t listen to them. Once you go vegan and you feel how amazing it is…you wont care what others think of your bragging about how you’re now more energized, your skin’s nicer, your head feels clear and your getting better nights sleep. (I won’t go into feeling better for animals but that’s just a bonus if your doing this for your own health)

    Its hard being vegan and I slip up often. So don’t beat yourself up if you have a chocolate every month or so!

    These ready meals seem amazing and I’m so happy that there are more options out there now as opposed to a few years back! 🙂

  13. There is 1 reason and 1 reason only why people choose to go vegan/veggie and that’s to tell other people that they have gone vegan/veggie.

    Nobody actually enjoys a salad, they only eat one to tell others they’ve eaten a salad.
    Same reason people go to the gym, so they can tell others they’ve been to the gym.
    This also applies to all music festivals.

    Having said that, my friends wife is a vegan (she told me so) and I recently had vegan fajitas with them and they were delicious!!!

    Just don’t tell her I said that, I’ll never hear the end of the “I told you so”

    love and light people!

    • 😉

    • What an absurd comment.
      People eat and enjoy salads because they are healthy and also taste nice. People make the choice to be veggie/vegan for a plethora of reasons. People go to music festivals because they enjoy music, and tend to tell people about it because they have enjoyed themselves, and usually when someone asks, “how was that music festival you went to?”

      “Love and light”? You are clearly a very negative person so I think using this as a sign-off is almost as absurd as the content of your post!

      Maybe you should try going to a music festival, and you could even get a salad while you’re there.

    • Believe it or not, but people actually go vegan because they care about the animals, the planet and their health. I don’t want to pay for animal cruelty. It’s 2018 and it’s still beyond belief for some people, that some people care about issues like climate change and mass extinction of animals, fishless oceans etc etc. I guess if you were in China and they served you dog, you’d also tell them that you don’t eat dog? A majority of vegans wish they didn’t have to mention that they are vegan because of all the stupid comments they get from uneducated/unaware people.

  14. This is great. Please can we have more visibility of vegie sushi in our stores too.

    • Hi Helen

      We only have one vegetarian sushi line in our range, our Sushi Veg Taster pack – we hope this is easy to spot with its green label but it’s not available in every store unfortunately. Thanks ^Stuart

  15. “The lower the meat, fish and dairy content, the lower the environmental impacts”

    Just curious as to where the data for this has come from and by how much it will reduce it by?

    Obviously meat production does have an impact on the environment, but you also have to consider the impact an increased demand for non-animal based food would have. For example swathes of rainforest have already been chopped down for soya plantations due to increased demand (both for human and animal feed). There’s also the environmental impact of transporting crops that are not viable for growth in the UK/Europe etc.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Environmental impacts of a product comes from many different aspects of its production, The Eating Better Coalition, has some useful resource links including from the UN and UK government on their Q&A page where you can find out more about why animal products often have a greater impact than non-animal products
      If you’re interested in the impact of soy specifically WWF have an interesting website which helps show how much soy is likely to be embedded in different products


  16. As I sit here eating my chicken wrap, my chicken sandwich and yes, you’ve guessed it, my pork pies. I reminded how bad of a diet it is and really should make a change, so I brought zero sugar energy drinks instead of the usual energy drinks that I get.

  17. Looking forward to seeing more Co-op plant based options available, especially for lunches. It can be incredibly frustrating to only have a choice of two sandwiches!

    • Hi Rachel

      We’re looking to change and update our vegan range of products more regularly this year and are launching an Egg & Avocado sandwich in store next week for those who are vegetarian. We’re also bringing back the popular Sweetcorn Fritter sandwich in May 2018, so look out for this soon! There are no plans for any more vegan sandwiches / salads until July but we’ve got quite a few new vegetarian lines launching in May too, like a new Beetroot & Feta salad. Hope that helps. Thanks ^Stuart

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