Could going vegan cut your grocery bill by 40 percent?

Kiwis desperately looking for ways to cut their grocery bills are finding that giving up meat and dairy is making a big difference to their weekly food costs.

A Tauranga businesswoman, Mila Arena, said people could save up to 40 percent by going vegan.

“Research suggests that vegans spend an average of 40 percent less on food than omnivores,” Arena said. “Pasta, rice, beans, fruits and vegetables are among the cheapest foods on the planet.”

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Arena is referring to research by UK-based analytics company Kantar that showed that, on average, plant-based meals eaten at home cost 40 percent less than meat- or meat-based meals. fish.

Mila Arena has a vegan delivery service called V on Wheels

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Mila Arena has a vegan delivery service called V on Wheels

Since the research was carried out, the soaring costs of meat and dairy products mean that plant-based substitutes are now even cheaper, according to European research published this year, which showed that meat had increased by 21% between February and June this year, while plant-based substitutes are now even cheaper. water-based products had only increased by two percent.

In 2022, Kantar research found that 19% of New Zealanders say they now “always” or “mostly” eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, up from 13% in 2020.

Arena said vegan diets are especially affordable if you don’t buy meat substitutes and instead make food from scratch.

“Novice vegans buy alternatives to animal products, like fake meats or cheeses, or processed vegan foods, and this means their grocery bill won’t be cheaper,” he said.

“Stick to what is in season in root vegetables and greens, and grow your own where you can. Buy beans and nuts in bulk and cook your own beans from scratch.”

Claire Insley from Vegan Society New Zealand says her grocery bills have not been affected by the rise in food costs.

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Claire Insley from Vegan Society New Zealand says her grocery bills have not been affected by the rise in food costs.

Claire Insley of Vegan Society New Zealand, who has been a vegan for 22 years, said her grocery bills have not been affected by rising food costs.

“My grocery bills are still pretty cheap,” Insley said. “I am not noticing much the increase in the cost of my basic foods. Those who eat a vegan, whole food diet will likely find the same thing. Beans, legumes and lentils are still quite cheap, and rice and pasta have not increased significantly.

“Oats and other grains still seem to be holding their ground right now. Nowadays it is very easy to grow your own vegetables, even in a small space, and there are even mushroom grow kits readily available, which are excellent value for money.”

Joy Ann Satchell didn’t become vegan until she was 70, and she likes the fact that she’s now saving money, as well as the planet and animals through her diet. She welcomes the fact that more people are trying a vegan lifestyle, even if they start doing so for budgetary reasons.

“Of course, there are ethical reasons to go vegan,” he said, “but it’s also an advantage that you save money. I’ve gone back to basics, buying dry food at the Binn Inn. It’s cheap, healthy and tasty, can be used to replace expensive alternatives and is cheaper than canned food.”

Vegan Joy Satchell likes the fact that she is now saving money and animals.

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Vegan Joy Satchell likes the fact that she is now saving money and animals.

Full-time student Ape White said he has had many conversations about grocery costs with his roommates.

“They tend to spend another $30-40 consuming animal products instead of my non-animal products,” Ape said.

Kim Humphry said her family of four spends almost $100 less buying vegan food than her friends with similar-sized families.

“We spend about $160 a week,” Humphry said. “That includes dog kibble and bird seed, baby wipes, and a small pack of diapers for baby care, since we use cloth at home.

“I buy seasonal fruits and vegetables and grow my own herbs. I rarely buy vegan alternative meats, as it’s cheaper to use lentils, tofu, or chickpeas, plus it’s healthier for my kids. I plan each meal and only buy what I need. My non-vegan friends with two children tend to spend between $220 and $250 a week.”

Dr. Michael Morris says that many plant-based proteins are cheaper than meat and dairy alternatives.

David White/stuff

Dr. Michael Morris says that many plant-based proteins are cheaper than meat and dairy alternatives.

Auckland mayoral candidate Dr Michael Morris, who is vegan, has published research he conducted with Dr John Livesey comparing the costs of plant-based protein to animal protein in Auckland supermarkets and Christchurch, as well as the nutritional value that measures protein per 100 grams

Updating the prices you checked to 2020, plant-based protein is not only cheaper, it can compete with meat in nutritional value.

For example, comparing the prices of various food proteins collected in Tauranga in July, Stuff found that textured vegetable protein costs $0.65 per 100 grams, compared to ground beef at $1.60 per 100 grams. Vegetable protein contains 47 grams of protein per 100 grams, compared to beef which contains 23 grams.

Red lentils cost $0.72 per 100 grams with 24 grams of protein. Powdered cow’s milk was $1.20 per 100 grams, but it only had three grams of protein. Colby cheese is $0.98 per 100g with 23.3 grams of protein.

Morris said this dispels the common myth that a plant-based diet is more expensive or less healthy.

“We need to break the fallacy that eating a nutritious and tasty plant-based diet based on whole foods is more expensive,” he said.

“The cost to the consumer of a healthy whole food, plant-based diet, as recommended by the EAT Lancet recommendations, is actually cheaper than the current New Zealand omnivorous diet.

“Of course, if one substitutes highly processed plant-based burgers for meat products, then the cost of protein goes up, but this is not a realistic scenario for health-conscious vegans on a budget.”

Cost and protein content of plant-based food products compared to protein in meat and dairy foods.

AMQ/stuff

Cost and protein content of plant-based food products compared to protein in meat and dairy foods.

A group created for New Zealanders looking for money-saving tips is attracting hundreds of new members every day, and membership has increased by more than 2,000 since May, according to the site’s administrators.

Food is a popular topic on the page, with people commenting on how they save by using meat substitutes. One of those people is Hannah Cook.

“If you were to make a bolognese, think how much cheaper it is to make it with lentils/pulsed walnuts/mushrooms than ground beef,” he said.

“Replace chicken curry with chickpeas. Replace ground beef in chili with beans. It is immensely cheaper. The vegetable content does not need to change drastically, just a protein change. Beans, lentils, rice and pasta are some of the cheapest foods out there.”

Cook said she also saves by baking with vegan ingredients.

“Vegan baking also cuts costs: a recipe that uses ‘milk’, oil, flour and sugar is much cheaper than one that uses eggs and butter. With a lot of recipes, you wouldn’t notice the difference.”

Another option is not to give up meat altogether, but save by having more meatless meals, said commentator Marie Lenihan, who stated that she only spends $5-7 per meal on protein for a meatless protein meal for two adults and two kids. , compared to a steak dinner that would cost you $10-12 for the protein.

Lentils are a popular way to augment or replace meat in dishes, say members of a New Zealand social media group that shares money-saving tips.

Betty Subrizi/Unsplash

Lentils are a popular way to augment or replace meat in dishes, say members of a New Zealand social media group that shares money-saving tips.

“We are using smaller amounts of meat per meal and have 1 or 2 meatless dinners per week, like tofu stir fry or Mexican food with pea protein,” Lenihan said. “Add lentils for a protein and nutrition boost in curries, stews, or casseroles with less meat.”

Juliet Clout, a mother of three, said her family cut back on meat consumption to help with their “increasing grocery costs.” She joined many social media groups to get ideas and tips for nutritious food at lower cost.

“It feels healthier to eat several vegetarian meals a week,” Clout said. “We go to local markets for the best deals and the freshest vegetables. Our three children, ages 13, 12, and eight, love tasty new foods and we save $50-80 a week. With a growing family to feed, we work hard to keep food healthy and nutritious.”

Being vegan or vegetarian isn’t necessarily by choice, said Mel Hirst, a member of the group.

“A lot of people aren’t doing this because they choose to,” he said. “They are doing it because they have to, to feed their families and still have a roof over their heads.

“I think more have reduced their purchases of meat, they only buy specials and they have limited meat in some meals due to the cost of living. Personally, our family will always be meat eaters and will prefer to stretch meat into many meals rather than just have vegetarian meals.”

Hirst asserted that it is not that people are actively choosing not to eat meat, but that they are being forced to because of rising food costs.

“More and more people are growing vegetables at home, spreading the meat over multiple meals, and eating more vegetable and lentil dishes to feed their families and fill their stomachs,” he said. “They are doing it because they have to if they want their rent/mortgage and electricity paid.”

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