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Vegan diets

Vegan diets differ from plant-based diets in that they are entirely animal-free. A vegan diet doesn't include any foods derived from animals such as honey, eggs and milk.

What is plant-based eating?

A plant-based diet explained

Plant-based diets are more varied than you might think, and the original version of the diet wasn’t actually strictly vegetarian. Instead, it more closely matched to what we call flexitarianism or a Mediterranean diet now, which means it had plenty of vegetables, wholegrains and pulses and small amounts of fish, lean meat and dairy. Whether you go full vegan or keep it flexitarian, shifting your focus to a plant-boosted diet can help to rebalance your diet by boosting your intake of fibre, wholegrains and your five-a-day. While this type of diet is naturally lower in saturated fats, it is not strictly a low-fat way of eating as saturated fats are replaced with healthier, unsaturated fats from plant oils, fish (if included) and nuts.

Are plant oils healthier?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for this, instead we need to look at the specific types of oil individually to judge if they are healthier. Palm and coconut oils tend to have a high content of saturated fat, while rapeseed, walnut, sunflower and olive varieties have a high unsaturated fat content, making them the healthier option.

Are plant oils healthier?
What is veganism?

Is a vegan diet healthy?

With a bit of planning and variation, vegan diets can be healthy and provide all the nutrients your body needs. Alternatives are key to a successful, healthy vegan diet so we've listed a few options below:

  • Protein – you should include a range of protein sources to provide all the amino acids your body needs, for example beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu and milk alternatives such as nut or rice drinks.
  • Vitamin B12 – commonly found in yeast extracts, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified milk alternatives such as soya or nut drinks.
  • Iodine – look for products fortified in iodine to ensure you get enough, such as some milk alternatives. It's also found in seaweed, for example sushi rolls, however, it tends to be high in iodine so only small amounts are needed.
  • Iron – typically found in pulses, leafy green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals and bread. Combining these with foods high in vitamin C, such as kiwi fruits, peppers and sweet potatoes, will help your body to absorb plant-based iron.
  • Selenium – found in nuts, especially Brazil nuts, and bread.
  • Calcium – found in enriched soya/oat/nut/rice-based drinks, dried fruit, leafy green vegetables and sesame seeds.
  • Omega 3 – the richest source of omega 3 for vegans are flaxseeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil. These provide short chain omega 3 fats, which our bodies convert into the heart healthy, long chain omega 3 fats. It can be difficult to obtain enough omega 3 in a strict vegan diet so you may need an algal supplement.

Look out for our labelling

Our foodhalls are full of delicious vegan options, just look out for the logo on the front of the packaging or the green vegan statement on the back.

Want to plan your shopping list?

Take a look at our list of M&S dishes suitable for vegans. We update this monthly to ensure it's accurate and you can ask a member of staff in store to help you find what's available in your local store. And the foods on the vegan list will not contain any of the following:

  • Meat, fish, poultry protein or any products derived from slaughtered animals – for example, animal lecithin and animal rennet
  • Animal carcass fats including suet, lard and dripping
  • Meat, fish or bone stock
  • Gelatine, aspic, cochineal or carmine
  • Egg or egg derivatives
  • Milk or dairy products including butter, yoghurt and cream, or dairy derivatives
  • Honey

Download the vegan food list

Food inspiration

Vegetarian ideas

Vegetarian ideas

From light and bright salads through to hearty tagines and desserts, there’s something for everyone in our ready-made veggie range

Your veggie feast, this way

Vegan ideas

Vegan ideas

Looking for vegan meal inspiration? Look no further than our range of vegan-friendly food, from tasty grains to veg-packed salads

Your vegan feast, this way

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