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Shoppers face ‘vegan premium’ at supermarkets as prices of plant-based products rise 18%

The prices of everyday items have increased over the last year (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
The prices of everyday items have increased over the last year (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Vegan shoppers face higher levels of inflation at the checkout than the average consumer making it harder to switch to plant-based foods, new research has found.

An Evening Standard analysis of over 100 different vegan products at leading supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Iceland has found that prices have risen by an average of 18% over the past year, significantly higher than the 14.6% average grocery price inflation estimated by retail analytics firm Kantar.

The price of vegan pizzas has risen 42%, the analysis found, while vegan meat alternatives are up 23% and vegan cheese is up 28%. Vegan ice cream is up 19% and vegan milk rose 25%.

By contrast, the price of fresh fruit and vegetables, from which the vegan products are made, have risen at a much slower pace, up 6.2% and 11.4% respectively, according to consumer price data from the Office for National Statistics.

Claire Ogley, Head of Campaigns, Policy and Research at The Vegan Society, told the Standard: “There does appear to be a ‘vegan premium’ on some products — it would be a shame if [that] put anyone off trying a lifestyle that is kinder to animals and more environmentally friendly.

“Supermarkets should try to incentivise more sustainable choices through ensuing prices are matched or lower than animal product alternatives.”

Ogley added that it’s possible for shoppers to save money by going vegan, if they ditch vegan products like meat-free sausages in favour of whole foods like legumes, grains, nuts, and fresh fruit and veg.

Some vegan products appear to have risen exceptionally fast. The price of Asda’s own-brand soya milk drink has climbed 35% to £1.15, while egg substitute is up 50% to £1.50 and the supermarket is selling Magnum 3 Vegan Almond Ice Creams is up 40% to £3.50.

An Asda spokesperson said: “The differing ingredients and manufacturing process of products in our plant-based range are reflected in the price of these products.

“We are committed to ensuring a variety of products suit all budgets and needs.”