We’ve selected a few of our favourite vegan brands and products for food sampling events and listed them below. Note that many of these brands and products are widely available across the world, but not everywhere.
To help get you started, here are five top tips from some of our grantees on how to host a successful vegan food sampling event!
- Keep it simple! Give out samples of items that are readily available in local grocery stores or homemade items that are easy to make. Even if you serve the tastiest vegan food in the world, if people can’t find it or make it conveniently, chances are no one’s going to buy it or make it on their own.
- The power of three. Serve no more than three types of items. Focus on the quality of each sample as opposed to serving a large variety. Less is more.
- Food is the way to our hearts! Serving vegan samples is a great way to expose people to meat and dairy alternatives. So, use this opportunity to dish out some veggie meats, vegan cheeses, and non-dairy milks. People are usually pleasantly surprised by how delicious (and healthy) these products are.
- If you don’t have a way to keep vegan cheeses hot and melted, we strongly advise against serving them. Most vegan cheeses are much more appealing served melted and warm than cold, unless you’re able to get your hands on one of the high-end brands that are becoming more widely available.
- If you serve non-dairy milks, you’ll want to make sure they are chilled. Keep the containers in a bowl of ice or stored in an ice cooler.
- Gardein – Gardein makes a large variety of delicious vegan plant-based meats, including buffalo wings and crispy tenders. You can usually find Gardein in the refrigerated and freezer sections of grocery stores.
- Tofurky – Tofurky produces soy-based vegan meats that come in a variety of options and flavors. The deli slices are great for sandwiches!
- Field Roast – Field Roast makes vegan grain meats, including loaves, a variety of sausages, and vegan chorizo.
- Beyond Meat – Beyond Meat is one of the newest vegan meats to hit the market. These soy-based chicken-free strips have generated a lot of buzz (including from Bill Gates) with folks announcing that they cannot distinguish between the chicken-free strips and conventional chicken strips.
- Wheaty – Wheat-based organic vegan meat. This brand offers options including, but not limited to, Chorizo, Salami, Döner, Seitan, and more. Wheaty products are palm-oil free too.
- Quorn Vegan – A vegan version of Quorn’s chilled deli slices are reported to be hitting the shelves very soon!
- Linda McCartney Foods – With an ever-expanding selection of vegan options, Linda McCartney products are widely available in grocery stores and are a popular choice for food sampling events. Try out the chorizo style cocktail sausages and mini sausage rolls at your next outreach event!
- Fry’s Family Foods Co. – An internationally available brand, this company offer a brilliant selection of plant-based meats, including but not limited to, chicken-style nuggets, pasties, pies, beef- and chicken-style pieces, sausage rolls, and meatballs.
- Trader Joe’s – Carries their own brand of deli items, including soy chorizo and chicken-less strips.
- Primal Strips – These make great samples for protein-hungry fitness fanatics! Primal Strips are a tasty and meaty plant-based snack. If your event venue restricts you to packaged foods only, these are a excellent option.
- Daiya – Daiya is a great cheese alternative. It comes pre-shredded and is available in three flavors: cheddar, mozzarella, and pepperjack. Daiya is best served hot, and when melted, it stretches! This vegan cheese is a great option for people with food allergies because it is dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free! Daiya now also make wedges, slices, and cream cheese.
- Follow Your Heart – Follow Your Heart is a soy-based product that’s sold as slices, shredded, or in block form. Like Daiya, this cheese also melts and comes in a variety of flavors. It is also best served hot.
- Wayfare – Wayfare makes a great product called “We Can’t Say It’s Cheese.” It comes in a variety of flavors, is gluten- and soy-free, and can be easily spread on crackers.
- Violife – Violife is quite new to the market and offers a variety of vegan cheese products, from blocks and slices to melty styles and cream cheese, as well as the first-ever vegan Halloumi product! This brand is good if you need a vegan cheese that melts well.
- Tofutti – From blocks to spreads, desserts, and even cheese-filled crepes, this brand is widely available, generously priced, and of reliable quality.
- Trader Joe’s – Carries their own brand of vegan mozzarella-style shreds, and vegan cream cheese.
- So Delicious – So Delicious makes a variety of coconut- and almond-based milks. Their newest milk, Almond+Plus, has five times the amount of protein as most other almond milks.
- Almond Breeze – Almond Breeze is a great option for people with common allergies. It’s dairy,- soy-, and gluten free! Almond Breeze comes in several varieties including original, vanilla, and chocolate (chocolate is always a big hit!).
- KoKo Dairy Free – Great selection of ethically produced coconut-based plain and flavored plant milks as well as vegan yogurts and desserts. This company has been farming coconuts in Indonesia since 1986. No monkeys or other animals are involved or exploited in this process!
- Oatly – Available globally in both plain and chocolate flavors. If you’re looking for a plant-based milk for creating those perfect frothy drinks with no curdling issues, Oatly’s Barista style is excellent!
- Vegenaise – Vegenaise is a vegan version of mayonnaise brought to the shelves by Follow Your Heart. People are consistently surprised by how much it tastes like conventional mayo! Vegenaise is a tasty addition to vegan sandwiches, veggie hot dogs, and more.
- Earth Balance – A variety of vegan products, including a line of dairy-free butters and spreads.
- JUST for all (formerly Hampton Creek) – JUST Mayo, a popular egg and dairy-free mayo choice.
- Pure Free From – A popular vegan spread choice, available in soya, olive, and sunflower.
Vegan Yogurts and Chilled Desserts
- Alpro – A long-standing popular brand, readily available in most grocery stores and supermarkets. Alpro offers a variety of yogurts, both natural and flavored, as well as a selection of more indulgent desserts including their Dessert Moments range and strained yogurt, Go On.
- Pudology – A indulgent selection of dairy- and gluten-free chilled desserts. Flavors include Classic chocolate, Banoffee, Millionaire’s, and Chocolate oranges. Pudology also do yogurt pots.
- Daiya Cheesecakes – Daiya’s rich New York Cheezecake is a very popular choice for showcasing vegan alternatives to the American favorite — cheesecake. You can’t tell it’s dairy-free!
Vegan Ice Cream
- Alpro – A long-standing popular brand, readily available in most grocery stores and supermarkets. Alpro offer a selection of vegan ice creams at a competitive price. You can choose from: Coconut, Hazelnut Chocolate, and the classic Vanilla.
- Tofutti Cuties – Tofutti Cuties are vegan mini ice-cream sandwiches! They come in many different flavors and are a huge hit, especially with children.
- Coconut Bliss – Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream is sold by the pint in a variety of flavors. They now sell ice cream sandwiches too! In addition to being vegan, this delicious product is organic, fair-trade, and soy- and gluten-free.
- So Delicious Minis – So Delicious Minis are delicious vegan ice cream sandwiches.
- Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-free – New to the shelves in 2017, made with almond milk and certified vegan, you can now get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the following best-selling flavors: Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, P.B. & Cookies, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and more!
- Halo Top – A large line of non-dairy ice cream: Toasted Coconut, Vanilla Maple, Pancakes & Waffles, Birthday Cake, Candy Bar, Chocolate Almond Crunch, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Caramel Macchiato, Chocolate, Chocolate Covered Banana, Cinnamon Roll, Oatmeal Cookie, Peanut Butter Cup, and Sea Salt Caramel
- Fry’s Family Foods – An internationally available ethical brand, this company now offers a brilliant selection of dairy-free ice creams. Flavors available include Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies, Espresso, and Coconut.
Cookies and Bars
- Trader Joe’s – Soft-baked snickerdoodles, Speculoos cookies, organic animal crackers.
- Nature’s Path – Sandwich cookies Chocolate, Vanilla, Duplex, and Ginger Lemon.
- Annie’s – Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.
- SimplyProtein Bars – A variety of high-protein, high-fiber bars with no artificial sugars.
- CLIF – CLIF BUILDER’S Protein Bars are widely available, come in a variety of flavors, and have high protein and low glycemic index.
Note: For food hygiene reasons, some event locations may restrict you to serving only packaged foods. If this is the case, a number of the above suggested brands and products should enable you to abide by this rule.
New vegan products are hitting the grocery store shelves so fast that it’s hard to keep up! If you discover new favorites — especially products that are good candidates for food sampling events, let us know.