It’s never been easier to be a vegan, as the trend for “plant-based” food spreads around the country shows. Still, if you’re outside of a major city, finding a vegan-friendly restaurant can feel like a fool’s errand, while supermarkets are still playing catch-up when it comes to labelling food. Luckily, as the cliché goes, there’s an app for that. We run through the six best apps for vegans to make your life easier.
Best apps for vegans: Vegan Or Not? (Android)
Worried that a particular ingredient or additive contains animal products? Simply tap it into the Vegan Or Not? search box to be given the green – or red – flag.
The product of a small Spanish “environmental company” called TorHen, Vegan Or Not? won’t please people who are after bells and whistles – there’s the search box and nothing else. There’s also a worrying number of additives that the app is “not sure” are vegan.
However, Vegan Or Not? remains a quick and easy resource for when you’re doing a deep-dive into the ingredients list. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally download the similarly named Is It Vegan
A large number of companies still test their products on animals before they’re made available to the public. Despite a landmark 2013 EU law banning animal testing for cosmetics in Europe, certain firms still test elsewhere in the world and, bizarrely, there are no such restrictions on animal-tested household products in the EU.
As the name of the app suggests, rabbits and rodents are often first in the firing line: according to PETA UK, chemicals are injected into the animals’ skin, applied to their eyes and forced down their throats. This can lead to organ failure or death.
However, there is a way to boycott the brands that rely on animal testing: the Bunny Free app, which uses PETA’s data. As with Vegan Or Not?, tap the name of a company into the search box while you’re out shopping to get a yay or nay. The results will probably surprise you – and make you think twice about that Colgate toothpaste…
If you download just one app from this list, I’d recommend Bunny Free. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re vegan or not, voting with your feet is a significant step towards getting companies to change their practices.
No list of the best vegan apps would be complete without HappyCow – in short, it’s brilliant. If you’ve ever struggled to find a vegan restaurant, café or shop, you’re in luck: HappyCow will locate the closest options in a matter of seconds.
Simply open the app and tap on one of four options – vegan, vegetarian, veg-options and stores – to bring up the nearest places. Once you’ve found somewhere, such as The Plant Base in Tunbridge Wells shown above, you’ll be taken to a profile page with images, reviews, contact details, prices and directions.
Two negatives are that the app shows dollar signs instead of pound signs, and that, if you’re on Android, you’ll have to upgrade to the £3.59 app for offline viewing and no adverts. The situation is worse for Apple users: strangely, there is no free version of HappyCow for iOS, meaning you’ll have to pay the full £3.99.
However, either the free or paid version of HappyCow is a must-have app for vegans and vegetarians alike. Download it now.
There are thousands of vegan recipe apps in the stores, but this is the best British one I’ve found. There are over 600 recipes, accompanied by beautiful photos, that cater for every occasion and dietary requirement.
Most importantly, the recipes are very easy to follow, include British measurements (there isn’t an American “cup” in sight!) and taste great. I’m intrigued by this twist on a classic…
Moreover, the app was built by Viva!, a high-profile British charity that’s dedicated to animal welfare and sustainable vegan products.
If your circle of friends or family are still firmly not vegan, it can be quite isolating. You’ll find yourself declining dinner invitations to that new steak place or, even worse, embroiled in a massive row over Christmas dinner.
Fortunately, the Vegan Amino community is here to help. Calling it a “vegan social network” doesn’t really do
As Vegan Amino works like Facebook, there are plenty of opportunities to scroll through statuses and discover new tips and products – and make friends in the process. If you’ve ever felt like the only vegan in the village, it’s a godsend.
After this article was published, reader Jon Ruben got in touch to suggest the excellent website Barnivore – a one-stop shop for vegan booze. Although Barnivore doesn’t have an app of its own, the site pointed us in the direction of VeggieBeers, which is truly excellent.
Although breweries, vineyards and spirit makers are now a lot better at advertising whether their tipple is vegan or not, grey areas still exist. That’s particularly true if you’re a fan of British real ale or French wine: most cask ales will contain a substance called isinglass, which is derived from the swim bladders of fish, to “fine” the beer and make it clear as crystal. The same is true for certain wines, which can also contain other animal products such as gelatin or egg whites.
That’s where VeggieBeers comes in. Simply tap the name of the beer, bottle of wine or spirit into the search box to bring up a green vegan thumbs up or red non-vegan thumbs down. And the database is huge, handling every name we threw at it – no matter how obscure. There’s also useful additional information such as the drink’s ABV, ingredients, contact information and whether it contains gluten.
A search for my local brewery – the excellent Old Dairy in Tenterden (if you haven’t tried any of its beers, shame on you) – revealed that the cask ales contain isinglass, but the bottled equivalents don’t.
So, if you’re after a Pokédex-style guide to vegan plonk, VeggieBeers deserves a place on your smartphone. Cheers Jon!
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