Updated October 2019 | We all know that International discount chain Aldi is kind to your wallet, but with its increasing number of vegan products on offer, Aldi is also kind to the planet.
Catering to market trends — such as the rise of plant-based diets — is typical of the global chain, as it has been at the forefront of progressive retailing since opening its first store in 1946. Founded by two brothers, Theo and Karl Albrecht, the household name is, in fact, a syllabic abbreviation for Albrecht Diskont (the German word for discount). Aldi lives up to its cut-price claims through new business processes, such as being the first company to cut the three percent rebate before sale.
As a company guided by market needs, Aldi has always shown an impressive awareness of trending products and lifestyles.
Veganism has been called the fastest growing lifestyle trend of the last five years, especially where social media is concerned. A report by Brandwatch in 2018 showed that 54 percent of diet mentions from Twitter concerned veganism.
Online popularity aside, a report published by Sainsbury’s in February 2019 revealed that 91 percent of the UK is trying to reduce its meat consumption. The reasons for adopting a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet include protecting the environment, animal welfare, and improved health. Abstaining from animal-products has even been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease according to a study published by the American Heart Association in 2018.
The surge in people following a plant-based or meat-reduced diet is something Aldi is keenly aware of and is tailoring its wares to meet the growing demand.
As a global company with stores in over 20 countries, each national Aldi has its own localized products to meet consumer needs. This is especially true in Aldi’s native Germany, where veganism has seen a rapid increase in recent years. In the country’s capital, Berlin, a whopping ten percent of the population is vegan, as reflected by the city’s impressive plant-based offerings. German Aldi was even named by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation for our Fellow World as the “Most Vegan-friendly Discounter 2019” in Germany.
In the UK, where Aldi has opened more than 700 stores since 1990, the chain showed its support for Veganuary by launching a plant-based campaign in 2019. The advert which saw the Clayton family go on a health boost for the first month of the year demonstrated Aldi’s savvy understanding of the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. It also challenged the preconception that veganism involves spending a fortune in exclusive health food shops.
While Aldi has always stayed true its no-frills roots, the retailer has renovated the image of discount stores as chilly, glamorized warehouses mostly filled with baked beans and industrial sacks of macaroni. Instead, Aldi proffers fresh fruit and veg, has a deli section, and many branches have an in-store bakery. It also offers a wide variety of affordable useful items in its Specialbuys section, often found in the middle of the store. If you need a barbecue, blender, or a tiered tray to cook three different vegan pizzas at once, Aldi has you covered.
The German chain also ups the quality stakes by stocking specialist healthy eating items that one usually associates with upmarket stores, such as Paleo-friendly (and vegan) macadamia and coconut bars and raw cacao powder. The international chain is also a treasure trove of affordable plant-based staples, selling bags of nuts, seeds, and grains from its Food Market line.
The chain’s success can in part be put down to its savvy reading of market changes. The commerce savvy chain regularly culls slow-selling items from its stock to maintain a steady flow. As some shoppers may have noticed, the 3-speed hedge trimmer that was there in the morning may be replaced by a self-inflating pilates ball by the evening. Aldi’s Special Buys also give an everyday shopping trip an element of surprise. The company also keeps its offerings fresh by constantly developing its own ranges and adding to its brand name stock. In the first three months of 2019, Aldi UK welcomed vegan jerky, new plant-based sausages and Meat Free Butcher burgers to its shelves. The new “Juicy Quarter pounders” are made from soy protein and have an authentic “bleeding” quality thanks to the miracle ingredient of beetroot extract.
While some of the items on the list are a little self-explanatory, such as tinned fruit and rice, this comprehensive guide could be very helpful for people new to plant-based eating.
With this in mind have compiled our own list of the most useful vegan-friendly product at Aldi, from top shelf to freezer.
A popular start to the day, cereal is enjoyed by adults and children alike, especially when there are stickers to collect. Due to being fortified with Vitamin D sourced from sheep’s wool, many cereals are not vegan, including the majority of Kellogg’s offerings. Luckily, Aldi’s Harvest Morn range has several vegan-friendly options.
The breakfast options ready to be soaked in the dairy-free milk of your choice are:
- Harvest Morn Apricot Fruit Wheats, mini parcels of fruity grain
- Harvest Morn Blueberry Fruit Wheats, sweet but satisfying
- Harvest Morn Cherry Fruit Wheats, turn the milk slightly pink
- Harvest Morn Crisp Cereal Maple Syrup, with a nice amount of crunch
- Harvest Morn Crisp Cereal Strawberry, with pieces of freeze-dried strawberry
- Harvest Morn Wheat Bisks, for a no-nonsense start to the day
- Harvest Morn Fruit and Fibre, with dried banana, coconut, and sultanas
- Harvest Morn Choc Pillows, chocolatey filling in a crispy shell
Aldi UK stocks Acti Leaf, which comes in a variety of flavors, while US Aldis stock Friendly Farms. The selections include:
- Acti Leaf Soya Milk, keeping it classic
- Acti Leaf Almond Milk, comes in sweetened and unsweetened
- Act Leaf Cashew Milk, for a richer plant milk
- Friendly Farms Soya, Almond, or Rice Milk for all your vegan milk needs
- Friendly Farms Non-Dairy Creamer Almond Milk in either vanilla or caramel
The vegan meat industry will be worth an estimated $6.43 billion by 2023 according to Research and Markets. Global companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have successfully made plant-based products more mainstream and reducing meat consumption a great deal more accessible.
Naturally, Aldi wants a piece of that action and the company stocks several Quorn products and its own meatless ranges. In the UK, Aldi stocks Mae’s Kitchen which sells several classically veggie items as well as its vegan meat offerings. In the US, Aldi has an even more extensive plant-based range called Earth Grown which stocks vegan dairy products and some plant-based snacks.
Aldi UK’s vegan meat options include:
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegetarian Sausages, for a quick midweek banger
- Mae’s Kitchen Meat Free Mince, found in the freezer section
- Mae’s Kitchen Meat Free Chicken Pieces, for stews, or fajitas
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Sausage Rolls
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Chicken Burgers
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Beef Burgers
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Beef Pasties
- The Deli Masala Roast Cauliflower Sausages, made with yellow split peas and red onion
- The Deli Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Sausages, with an authentic sausage casing
- Quorn Meat Free Mince, for classics such as shepherd’s pie
- Quorn Chicken Pieces made from its signature mycoprotein
- Quorn Cumberland Sausages, flavored with herbs
Mae also whizzes up some more classically veggie offerings in her kitchen and the full range includes:
- Mae’s Kitchen Spicy Bean Quarter Pounder, with herbs and spices
- Mae’s Kitchen Spicy Bean Quarter Pounder, crammed with kidney beans and chickpeas
- Mae’s Kitchen Vegetable Quarter Pounders, rather like vegetable fingers but bigger
- Mae’s Kitchen Superfood Burgers, made of quinoa, couscous, pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, red pepper, and sweet potato
Aldi US’ vegan meat range is more extensive, after Aldi US gave its customers “More of you what you want” by adding to the Earth Grown line in December 2018.
- Jumbo Hot Dogs, offering 13 grams of soy protein per serving
- Meatless Meatballs, cholesterol-free and flavored with parsley
- Chickenless Tenders, soy protein coated in breadcrumb
- Chickenless Patties, for a tasty vegan burger
American Aldi first rolled out its new Earth Grown Range in December 2017 and the mostly vegan range continues to expand. Alongside its plant-based patties and sausages, the Earth Grown range also includes several more classic, garden produce style burgers.
- Asian Veggie Burger, made with brown rice and water chestnuts,
- Thai Veggie Burger, a fragrant vegetable patty with brown rice and lemongrass
- Black Bean Chipotle Burger, with a serious chipotle kick
- Veggie Burger, made of 11 flavorsome vegetables including carrot and peas
- Kale Veggie Burger, made with sweetcorn and calcium-rich kale
- Quinoa Crunch, this chewy patty uses the South American grain as a base
Earth Grown Dairy Free
Aldi US is aware that plant-based eaters cannot live on burgers alone, and its Earth Grown range also includes some vegan dairy and dessert options. These include:
- Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds, fully meltable and made of pea protein
- Cream Cheese Style Spread, for smothering on bagels, crackers or anything you fancy
- Salad Dressings, in vegan Caesar, Ranch and Harissa for livening up a low-cal lunch
- Ice Cream, or as Aldi call it, “non-dairy frozen dessert” in vanilla, chocolate, or mocha fudge
- Vegan Chocolate Cake, made with real Belgian chocolate on a biscuity base
Aldi UK increased its vegan-friendly range at the start of 2019 by adding several vegan ready-meals to its stock. The range includes:
- Inspired Cuisine Butternut, Lentil & Spinach Hotpot, rustic and toothsome
- Inspired Cuisine Indian Dhal With Spinach, Cauliflower & Carrot, with added spice
- Inspired Cuisine Indonesian Style Vegetable Curry With Red And Brown Rice, with coconut milk
- Inspired Cuisine Brazilian Tomato & Black Bean With Cashews & Quinoa, for complete protein
- Inspired Cuisine Rainbow Vegetable Stew, crammed with plant power
- Inspired Cuisine Red Thai Style Mixed Vegetable Curry And Brown Rice, for a grab and go dinner
- Soupreme Minestrone Soup, with pulses and pasta
- Specially Selected Lentil And Tomato Soup, with plenty of pulse goodness
Chilled Vegan Products
From side-dishes to sandwich patties, Aldi UK has a stellar range of plant-based goods.
- The Deli Sweet Potato Burger, with onion and garlic
- Specially Selected Sweet Potato Falafel for sumptuous wraps
- The Deli Sweet Potato Pakora, for a spicy snack
- Specially Selected Thai Bites, aromatic and quick
- The Deli Tomato & Basil Pasta Salad, served cold
- Inspired Cuisine Onion Bhajis, packed with onion
- Classic Cuisine Paprika Chilled Potatoes, for a peppy side dish
- Inspired Cuisine Vegetable Samosas, spicy parcels of tastiness
- Giant Couscous & Vegetable, for a light lunch
- Golden Vegetable Microwave Rice, when you need your dinner in two minutes
- Deli Beetroot Burger, with an earthy flavor
- The Deli Moroccan Falafel, with North African spices
As well as its range of nuts and seeds, Aldi UK also offers the following items to keep you pulling on through the day.
- Eat & Go Carrots & Hummus Twinpot, for quick dipping
- Eat & Go Edamame Bean & Sugar Snap Protein, for an amino-acid boost
- Eat & Go Glorious Greens Protein Pot, with spinach
- Foodie Market Oh So Delish Crunchy Protein, a single-serve pot of roasted pulses
- Foodie Market Oh So Delish Thai Sriracha, spicy roasted corn and nuts
- Foodie Market Oh So Delish Vegetable Protein, with baked almonds
- Foodie Market Macadamia and Coconut Paleo Bars, made with just five ingredients
- Foodie Market Cashew Crush Bars, made with pressed cashews and dates
- Deli Lentil Snacks, in tangy tomato or barbecue flavor
- King’s Veggie Jerky, in either eastern BBQ or black bean sauce flavor
While Aldi’s nutritionally balanced dishes and snacks are admirable, there is always a time and place for chocolate. In the UK the supermarket’s offerings get more extensive during festive seasons such as Christmas with vegan marzipan hearts and dark chocolate mints. However, the items below are all available right now.
- Moser Roth Ginger Chocolate, with root ginger for a fiery aftertaste
- Moser Roth Sea Salt Chocolate, for a flavor sensation
- Moser Roth Orange Chocolate, with orange extract
- Dairyfine Dark Chocolate, don’t let the name mislead you, this dark chocolate is vegan-friendly
- Dairyfine Mint Creme, filled with peppermint fondant
The instore offerings include:
- Coconut Lollies, creamy popsicles for a light pudding
- Heavenly Desserts Apple Crumble, sweet apple compote in shortcrust pastry
- Aldi Rocket Lollies, for a fruity treat
- Magnum’s vegan almond ice cream bars, filled with dairy-free vanilla ice cream made from pea protein and coated in sustainably sourced vegan chocolate
Vegan Non-Food Products
Aldi understands that following a vegan lifestyle spans much more than just your dinner plate, but also affects what toiletries and household items you purchase. Since 2018, all of Aldi’s own brand toiletries and cleaning products have been certified cruelty-free. As Aldi UK’s Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility, Oliver King notes on Aldi’s website:
“This is hugely important to us and our customers. It makes cruelty free certified products more accessible and affordable.”
While all of Aldi’s own brand products are non-animal tested, some contain animal products such as beeswax, making them not vegan. Aldi’s vegan non-food item list includes:
- Lacura Q10 Anti Wrinkle Day Cream, SPF 20
- Lacura Body Moisturiser, for dry and normal skin
- Carino Refine Shampoo, with repairing properties
- Carino Hairspray, comes in natural or colored
- Mamia Fragranced Baby Wipes, for sensitive bottoms
- Mamia Shampoo, mild and lightly scented
- Power Force Kitchen Cleaner, for sparkling worktops
- Magnum Washing Up Liquid, in plain or citrus
- Almat Washing Powder, comes in bio or non-bio