It seems that a there isn’t a week going by without a new vegan product launch these days.
One the one hand, it’s great news there are so many products from which to choose, but, it does mean that with so many supermarkets fighting for the vegan pound, our independent health food shops have difficulty in competing. As someone who always bats for the small guy, I find myself torn between trying the new ranges and supporting small businesses.
Farmfoods isn’t generally seen as a big player as far as supermarkets go – but it is good for those on a budget – when I bought products from their Veggie Kitchen range, I got three for a fiver!
I decided to try all of the vegan-friendly products in the Veggie Kitchen range because it really didn’t cost me very much to do so.
Sausages. The sausages are of a similar size and texture to Linda McCartney’s famous veggie sausages – the benchmark by which vegan-friendly sausages are usually measured if we’re honest.
The Farmfoods effort has a similar rusky taste, but they have a herby hint that’s very pleasant indeed. I prefer them to the Linda McCartney ones – and they are certainly value for money – you get eight in a box!
Meatballs. These seem to lack the seasoning hit that their sausage sisters provide. You get a hefty pack and a meaty texture, but they are just a little bit bland. However, this does mean they soak up other flavours well and are great in a passata with pasta or in a nice onion gravy as part of a roast dinner.
We have to remember this is cheap processed food, so sometimes you need to spice things up a little with sauces or seasoning.
Mince. You get a substantial pack of soya mince to use in your spaghetti Bolognaise or shepherd’s pie. Again, the mince alone is a little bland, but then, who eats mince on its own?
It works perfectly in a good spag bog, and that’s all you need really. It doesn’t have a dominant flavour, and, I guess, that’s the point really. You get a lot for your money, meaning it can be stretched across several tasty meals.
Burgers. The Veggie Kitchen burgers have a meaty look and texture. By meaty, I mean substantial – they don’t look or taste like a dead animal – I feel the need to make that clear in our Veganverse. These also lack seasoning, but bung them in a bun with some salad and relish and you have a great burger. They also go brilliantly with gravy.
I have to point out, that while not exploding with taste, none of the products are offensive to the tastebuds – none of them are horrible and none of them are overly disappointing.
Southern Fried Chicken Poppers. These are my favourites in the range. The coating gives them a slight crunch and provides a mild peppery taste – one that’s very agreeable too!
The texture is gorgeous. They almost melt in the mouth – while, again, not having a powerful flavour. But they are perfect with ketchup, which, importantly, means they are very kid-friendly and they get the thumbs-up from me.
All-in-all, if you’re after cheap, quick, processed food, or freezer staples, you could do worse than popping down to Farmfoods.