Vegan It Real’s Top 10 Favorite Vegan Food Brands


So many vegan products, so little time!

Choosing an animal-free diet (most call vegan 😉) has never been easier, especially with so many brands and products on the market today. Whether it’s pizza, milk, burgers, chickin, sausage, mac & cheeze or ice cream, anything can be “veganized.” And what’s really cool is that most non-vegans can be fooled by these products, most of the time.

My list below doesn’t even scratch the surface. These are just the vegan brands that, for me, have made transitioning to this lifestyle these past 3+ years, easier. I always try to limit my use each week of processed products (although you probably can’t tell from all the pictures 🙄) because they aren’t filled with the same vitamins and nutrients that a whole-foods, plant-based diet will give you. And TBH, if you eat a lot of these all the time, you will probably gain weight.

Nevertheless, I find that brands and products like the ones listed below help fill the gaps when you’re craving a midnight snack or have the need for an indulgent and comforting food hug.

If you are a “true” vegan, it’s easy maintaining this lifestyle because you are 100% in it for animals. No questions asked! If, like many, you claim veganism for your health or for the planet as much as for the animals, then you know you don’t need to sacrifice any of your favorite foods, thanks to all the products on the market. But, maybe you are just trying out this new lifestyle and are vegan-curious. Maybe you have no idea what brands to try and for which dishes. Maybe you get overwhelmed at the store with all the options, so you don’t even try a cruelty-free one at all. Well…we just can’t let that happen so…

…this list is for you!

I did not rank these brands from best to worst but rather alphabetically because I don’t have just one favorite. They all serve a different purpose, offer multiple products and get used in different ways. In 6 months, I might even have a totally different list, who knows? 🤷‍♀️ Companies and brands continue to be innovative to drive those veg-curious folk right into our vegan revolution. I mean, when you see vegan-only retail stores popping up all over the U.S., like Black Radish grocer right here in our own Tampa Bay backyard, you know the options are becoming limitless and the future may very well be vegan.

For right now, when you head to the store and you want to try something new or different, maybe VIR’s top 10 vegan brands will help you choose.

1. Beyond Meat

Many don’t realize that Beyond Meat has been going strong for over 10 years already! By launching new crave-worthy breakfast sausages alongside their mouthwatering, Non-GMO burgers, and collaborating with fast food giants such as Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Subway and Carl’s Jr to name a few, Beyond is constantly finding ways to move people towards cruelty-free food options. Just announcing recently they would retail their products at Walmart, there’s no place Beyond Meat can’t be found.

I love all forms of Beyond Meat sausage! When my store has BOGO, I always grab several packs!

If you happened to be genius enough to buy Beyond stock a year ago when it went public at $46.00, you are dancing in the streets. As of this article, Beyond stock is trading at $187.00 per share. I’d say this is a good indicator the future is vegan (although I am not a stock analyst). I love Beyond Meat because, in my mind, it is free of GMOs so I feel it’s a healthier plant-based option. Not to mention, all their meats are simply addicting.

Beyond Burger with all the fixings. including mushrooms, onions, mozzarella cheese and pickled jalapenos.


2. Butler Foods

Never heard of Butler Foods before? Well, if you have eaten out at vegan restaurants, it’s possible you ate their soy curls without even knowing! I discovered the Butler brand after our trip to Portland two years ago. A restaurant we ate at, Loving Hut, used soy curls in their “Beef & Broccoli” and ever since then I was sold. I would serve this product to a non-vegan in a heartbeat and take a bet they would never know the difference.

Dehydrate in water and then season and sauté! It’s that easy!

Similar to tofu, soy curls take on whatever flavor you douse them in so, whether it’s buffalo chikin salad or chikin lo mein, Butler soy curls are a perfect, cruelty-free meat alternative! As a small independent, family-owned company, you may not find Butler products in your large big box stores but you can always find them online.

Butler Soy Curls used in this faux Vietnamese Pourk Pho.

3. Earth Grown

This is an Aldi foods brand so, if you don’t have an Aldi near you I am so sorry! ‘Cause this brand is ah-mazing. Aldi is a German, family-owned discount supermarket chain with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. Although Aldi’s shopping experience offers a no-frills approach, the expansion of their Earth Grown brand has been nothing less than exciting for vegans everywhere.

Many vegan products are pricier than their animal-laden competitors, but the Earth Grown brand counterpunches the stigma that vegan food has to be expensive. Earth Grown now offers countless plant-based products including ice cream, meatballs, chikin strips, bean burgers and a host of other new products, every time I turn around. If you have not tried Earth Grown products (or even Aldi itself)…just do it!

Aldi is rocking the vegan options with their very affordable Earth Grown brand.

4. Field Roast & Chao Creamery

Field Roast is one of the pioneers of plant-based foods, offering foodies tons of artisanal vegan meat and cheese options. Sausages, frankfurters, corn dogs, deli “meat”, cheese slices and my favorite, Mac & Chao, these products are definitely a delicious option for the vegan-curious. Field Roast has been perfecting their recipes since 1997 and they continue to move the bar on flavor.

Field Roast has been perfecting its artisanal offerings since 1997. I like these for game day!

Vegan hosts get excited to share the Celebration Roast (our version of cruelty-free turkey/beef roast) or the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast because these yummy alternatives are usually the #1 favorite on the holiday table, vegan or not. Another brand that is constantly giving the consumer what they demand, Chao Creamery just announced it’s launching 5 new artisanal cheese varieties. Eeek! 🙌😁

This is the Chili Mac & Chao next to my VIR collards and Beyond Burger. OMGOSH people, this is THE mac & cheese! (Found in the freezer section)

5. Follow Your Heart (FYH)

FYH is one of the first brands I fell in love with when I moved to a cruelty-free diet. Many vegans will attest the FYH ranch dressing is off the charts! But, FYH has so much more than salad dressing, especially since they have been creating delicious plant-based products since 1977, when they launched their first product, the popular Veganaise.

Yogurt, cheese, dressings & spreads, cream cheese, sour cream, breakfast and bakery items, FYH has you covered. With a mission that believes “Better Begins Within” this company has had its finger on the pulse of America’s healthy eating habits for a long time.  Zero waste certified at the Gold Level, this company is doing its part to keep the planet healthy and green.

Yes, I can make my own dressing 🤷‍♀️ but, using FYH dressing is how we keep veganism real in busy households.

6. Gardein

I don’t know a single vegan who doesn’t have a bag of Gardein products in their freezer. I have like 8 of them, no kidding. (This is when you are questioning my claim that I don’t eat processed foods that much. 🤔😂). Seriously, the line of Gardein products can be so convenient and can add that little sumthin sumthin to any meal. Many grocery stores have great deals (BOGOs) on this brand and thus, vegans find themselves scooping up a variety of these “meaty” indulgences like they were candy.

These are the crumbles I use for my Shepherd’s Pie. With so many cruelty-free, yet mainstream options, why not be vegan?

I may get a little pushback from folks who know I do not support GMOs since this brand and product line is owned by ConAgra foods, one of the largest packaged food companies on the planet. Think Birdseye, Duncan Hines, Healthy Choice, and the list goes on. But, they also found their spot in the vegan market and I have to admit, it’s the fact that the Gardein products are non-GMO Project verified that I eat them. And seriously, once you’ve tossed the Nashville Hot Tenders in a big ole salad, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Those are some tasty Gardein meatballs on that gorgeous hoagie! Italian dishes are just asking for these plant-based meatballs!

7. Kite Hill

Much like Follow Your Heart, Kite Hill has filled any remaining gaps in the vegan, non-dairy department. Every time I turn around there are more and more options on the shelves. Like the delicious Everything Cream Cheese pictured below. 😋 Offering tons of plant-based products like stuffed tortellini and ravioli, to yogurt, milk, dips and artisanal cheeses to die for, Kite Hill has everything we crave. Not to mention, they are smart enough to have just launched kid-friendly yogurts!

Starting their collaboration in 2008, the three founders of this delicious brand took nearly 6 years perfecting their product, launching their first line of “Soft Fresh and Soft Ripened” cheeses in Whole Foods in 2014. Since then, the brand has grown exponentially and products can be found in Target, Publix, Safeway, Sprouts, and Whole Foods among others.

The smoothest, cruelty-free cream cheese I have found that tastes just like the real thing.

8. Lightlife Foods

Need a good vegan hot dog? How about deli meat for that picnic sandwich? Lightlife has what you need by way of plant-based meats. Rivaling other meat-centric brands like Beyond Meat and Gardein, Lightlife has a lot to offer vegan consumers. Another pioneer of the plant-based movement, Lightlife has been producing delicious, animal-free food since 1979! Lightlife has seen a lot by way of ownership, having been acquired by ConAgra (yes, that giant again!) in 2000, to be sold to a private equity firm in 2013 and as recently as 2017 purchased by Maple Leaf Foods.

My husband loves these hot dogs! And, this Gimme Lean Sausage taste so good that I use it in my Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole.

In 2019, Lightlife introduced its version of a plant-based burger using pea protein, beet powder and engineered yeast, similar to the Impossible burger. Regardless of the ingredients one thing is certain, this brand is in demand, is constantly reinventing itself and they just became a 100% carbon neutral company which is one more reason to have them on my list.

9. So Delicious

So…if I WAS rating brands, So Delicious, produced by White Wave Foods (Danone North America), would probably be in my top three. I love this entire product line and literally use the coffee creamer every day (yes, an admitted vice!). So Delicious, the brand, has been changing the vegan foodie experience for more than 30 years. They offer so many flavors of plant-based creamers, frozen desserts, cheese, yogurt and beverages with wide-ranging ingredients like cashew, coconut, almond, oat and soy to ensure all the allergies are covered. Well, almost.

I can’t say enough about this brand. I use the vanilla creamer every day that I can. (In small amounts! 🤭)

Not only does So Delicious bring tons of delicious products to its conscious consumer, but it is also very conscious of how they produce their products. This brand’s certifications include USDA organic, non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, UTZ (certified cocoa), and B-Corp, which means they use their business for good. Seriously, you can feel SO good about devouring So Delicious!

I always add So Delicious Coconut Yogurt in my smoothies, like this ginger, citrus and banana smoothie!

10. Violife

The coast of Thessaloniki, Greece has a company that is producing some of the most delectable, melty, memorable vegan cheeses around and its called Violife. Non-dairy, “free-from” cheese is their focus and by gosh they are doing it really well in 50 countries. In my experience, Violife, along with So Delicious, has the best meltable cheese around. I mean, just look at those pictures. I use the shreds on my Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole and the slices for my grilled cheese. And, they recently introduced smoked and aged flavor that no doubt would fool any non-vegan.

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole using Violife Cheddar Shreds. So melty and so indulgent!

Violife offers cheese lovers a Just Like Parmesan Wedge and a crumbly Just Like Feta that would complete any Mediterranean meal. Or just any meal. 😁 Carrying around tons of certifications including vegan, kosher and non-GMO project verified, this company also has countless awards under its belt for taste and quality. I always like to support companies that actively promote a vegan lifestyle so that’s probably why you will find two packages of this cheese in my fridge right now. 😏

Grilled cheese with Violife Cheddar Slices, pimentos and pepperoncini. 🤤

I know, I know. Some of you are shaking your heads wondering why some of your favorite brands don’t rate on VIR’s list! Well, don’t take it personally. Like I said, so many products, so little time! It just shows how many great cruelty-free options are out there for all those vegan-curious readers. I listed the top 10 that I use most and would likely be found in fridge on any given day.

Removing animal products from your diet is not only good for your health but it’s also good for the environment and it saves countless animals from being exploited and killed. With so many products and brands offering us anything we desire by way of quality, sustainable animal-free food, there really never has been a better time to GO VEGAN!



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  1. Maria on at

    oh this is a great list. I’m on the road to veganism so trying a lot of different products now. Fieldroast makes the best chorizo & hot dogs. I’ll check out the So delicious yogurt. I gave up milk years ago and haven’t found a good yogurt substitute

    • Jennifer Markell on at

      Awesome! The yogurt does have a coconutty taste that I had to get used to but, it’s the smoothest I have found. Note…it will smell up your garbage so throw the containerin the outside trash! LOL 😀

  2. Jenna on at

    Thanks for this list. I’m a vegetarian and am most likely heading vegan and I’ve written down several of these brands to try. I have at least 9 bags of Gardein products currently in my freezer! I love their stuff!!

    • Jennifer Markell on at

      Awesome! I am glad it may help! And…you are in good company, I always take advantage of the Gardein sales so, my freezer is quite full too! 😁🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️

  3. Chelsea on at

    This is a great round up of vegan food brands. My favorite vegan cheese are ones from Follow Your Heart. And I use Fieldroast sausage almost weekly. Beyond burgers are a regular during grilling season for us. I also love Just Egg for the egg dishes I want to make. And I’ve found some brands from Trader Joes to be great for vegan yogurt!

    • Jennifer Markell on at

      I wish I had a Trader Joe’s near me but I will settle for Aldi and now Sprouts! Thanks a bunch for your comment! 👩‍🍳🍎🥦🥕

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Meet Jennifer

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I'm Chef Jennifer! A trained and certified personal vegan chef, offering delicious and nutritious animal-free food through personalized, weekly meal-prep services. I also love advocating for the plant-based lifestyle. Changing lives, saving animals and veganizing the planet with REAL food, one plate at a time.🍎🥦🥕

Learn about me, why I started VIR and why I believe food is medicine...for real!


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