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Going Vegan at Walmart

By KD Angle-Traegner, Founder & Editor

The Daily Beast recently interviewed Kris Carr about veganism in a post titled, “So You Wanna Be Vegan? Start Here.” In it was this from the author of the post:

OK, it all makes sense but what if you don’t have Wolfgang Puck preparing vegan pizza for you or a personal assistant to scour the health-food-store shelves for agave nectar while you try on your cruelty-free (for animals, anyway) Stella McCartney stilettos?

Vegan politics aside, this type of statement is the exact stereotype about veganism that drives me bonkers.

Veganism is not an inaccessible lifestyle only the urban rich can attain.

While Carr does mention that “a sack of rice and a sack of beans is not that expensive and certainly if you can’t afford to buy all organic you can use the Dirty Dozen or the Clean Fifteen” to cut the expense of vegan food- she says nothing about how accessible vegan products really are.

[I should mention here that I’m not slamming Carr, just in case you were about to type me an angry comment about being divisive.]

Vegan products are just around the corner and likely on sale. One of the most prevalent places to shop in America is Walmart.

Hold on, stay with me.

We’re not talking about whether we support Walmart or it’s business practices.

What we are talking about is the fact that the average American has access to vegan products, at an affordable price, at every Walmart across the country. And they are everywhere.

The fact is, millions of people shop there every day.

At minimum, if someone is forced to shop at Walmart (whether through convenience, location, or monetary situation) then making vegan choices is the least one can do.

Imagine if every Walmart shopper purchased solely vegan products how that would change animal agribusiness.

It would be huge.

How to Shop Vegan at Walmart

Walmart is literally filled to the brim with a huge selection of goods. Let’s take a look at each department. I’ll show you the vegan options all right where you’d expect their non-vegan counterparts to be.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Tofu, the vegan staple. You’ll find it in the refrigerated cases near where the packaged lettuce lives.

Have you always wanted to try tofu but didn’t know how to cook it? I’ve been there too. That’s why I created this Vegan Tofu Guide. It’s a comprehensive guide that answers questions such as: How do I know which firmness is right for my recipe? Does tofu spoil? How do you know when that has happened? How to restaurants get the tofu to taste so good? I’ve heard soy isn’t healthy for me, is it? What about GMOs?

I answer those questions, plus give you lots of recipes to help you add this soy powerhouse to your diet.

Please note: The Go Veggie cheese item in this photo contains milk proteins and is not suitable for vegans.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan
How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Organic produce doesn’t just live at Whole Foods, it also lives in horrible environment-destroying plastic bags at Walmart. A growing number of grocery sections at Walmart stores carry organic produce. In fact, the store has begun to create larger spaces for fresh foods to meet the growing demand.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of any healthy diet and Walmart delivers. Look for everything from organic kale to collards, to asparagus to potatoes, to berries and other fruits.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Are you looking for a plant-based milk to dump all over you cereal in the mornings? Walmart has them. You’ll be able to spot soy, almond, and even cashew milk in the refrigerated dairy cases, right next to the dairy-based milk.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Vegan butter and accidentally-vegan margarine? Yup, Walmart has those too. 

Protip: Not every Walmart will stock the same items. If your local store doesn’t carry vegan butter, there are still a few things you can do. First, ask the Walmart to stock vegan butter. Generally speaking, stores will stock items that you request and you’d be surprised how often this works.

Second, you can make your own butter.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to get your own churning bucket.

Delicious vegan butter can easily be made with just a few ingredients. Here is a Vegan Butter Guide to tell you how.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Dried beans and rice are friends to budgets everywhere with good reason; they’re nutrient dense, versatile, and cheap. And if you have a pressure cooker, they’re fast food.

But even if you don’t, dried beans and rice are a healthy and hearty addition to a well-balanced diet, and completely worth the time they take to prepare. Be sure to grab a bottle of hot sauce, conveniently located nearby, to ramp up the flavor!

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Okay. I’ve talked vegan basics: fruits, vegetables, tofu, dried beans and rice. What about packaged items?

Well, dairy-free mac-and-cheese for one. There are also vegan-friendly quick-cook quinoa, pasta, and instant noodle soups. There’s also oatmeal, cream of wheat, creamed buckwheat, polenta, cereal, and granola. You’ll also find corn chips, potato chips, and crackers without honey or milk in them.

And, my Walmart even carries a few frozen meatless options as well.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

What else is available at Walmart? Down alternative comforters! Skip the feathers in favor of soft, plush cruelty-free fill that will keep you warm during the coldest weather.

If you’re new to veganism, you might question why vegans avoid down and other feather products. You may even have asked yourself, “Geese, ducks, and other birds aren’t killed for their feathers, so why should I avoid them?” It’s a good question.

It’s a good question.

Some well-intentioned people overlook clothing and other items that contain feathers or down because the cultivation of the raw material does not always require the immediate death of an animal. The thing to understand is that veganism is an ethical philosophy which begins with the idea that we should not use animals in any way and avoid, to the extent that is possible and practical, all forms of use. Every plucked goose, duck, or swan whose feathers are used to make down will be slaughtered once their productivity lessens. In the end, they all will die.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. And if more and more people choose these types of cruelty-free alternatives, it won’t be :)

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Another great cruelty-free option for the home are these wool-free rugs.

Like down, wool is another fabric that vegans avoid because it comes from an animal. To learn more about wool production, as well as a host of alternatives, visit this handy Vegan Wool Guide.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Polyester + Cotton makes Dickies hip (and vegan).

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

100% cotton means that these jams are 100% vegan. Check the labels for animal-free fabrics like linen, denim, polyester, or rayon.

How to go vegan at Walmart | Your Daily Vegan

Stella McCartney who? These man-made shoes are, yes, vegan (and cheap). Be sure to check the label (under the tongue of the shoe) for hidden animal ingredients like leather or suede.

Find More Vegan Products

I’ve been living vegan for more than 11 years in a small Ohio town that doesn’t have one fully vegan restaurant. I’ve learned how to live by my ethics in a town that wasn’t designed for me and I want to share what I have learned with you. Here are a few related articles to show you how easy it is to find vegan products. I hope you will find them useful. If you do, I’d love it if you shared them with others.

March 12th, 2013|Lifestyle|

About the Author:

Vegan. Wife. Writer. Founder of Your Daily Vegan & Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. Currently in Ohio. Tweet her at @YourDailyVegan

56 Comments

  1. […] cow’s milk. Luckily, finding vegan versions of dairy-based butter has never been easier- even Walmart stocks it. Generally speaking, brands that are appropriate for vegans are clearly labeled and can be found in […]

  2. […] cow’s milk. Luckily, finding vegan versions of dairy-based butter has never been easier- even Walmart stocks it. Generally speaking, brands that are appropriate for vegans are clearly labeled and can be found in […]

  3. […] cow’s milk. Luckily, finding vegan versions of dairy-based butter has never been easier- even Walmart stocks it. Generally speaking, brands that are appropriate for vegans are clearly labeled and can be found in […]

  4. Jerry Howell October 28, 2016 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I was surprised at how easy and inexpensive the switch was. I am a truck driver and can’t always prepare my food ahead of time but I always keep rolled oats, walnuts, apples, bananas, and plenty of canned vegetables. You just have to read the labels really well. In a pinch, they even have prepared brown rice, as mentioned, read the ingredients and whenever you can, get the dry beans and rice but don’t let the fact that it’s already processed keep you from going vegan

  5. Bill teague September 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Interestingly enough Biblically all animals and humans were originally vegan and will be again in heaven. Too many experiments to mention but proven that yes even cats (the big ones too) can become vegan. .. no problem. The short length intestines common to meat eaters actually grow out longer in fairly short order as they go vegan. ‘Carnivores’ are not the only animals with huge sharp canines. Many quite vicious looking vegans have them as well. I just read the other day about the world’s oldest dog being vegan. 27yo? The Seventh Day Adventist Church has promoted and largely adopted veganism for over 150 years. They served as a large vegan control group in a long term mainstream medical study and found to live on avg 10 years longer with significantly improved quality of life. Just sayin’ ;)

  6. Carolyn September 3, 2016 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hello KD:

    What about vegan inorganic herbs and spices at Wal-Mart? I read that an anticaking (made from animal bone char) agent is used in powered spices. Not sure about dried herbs.

    It would be a great help to buy at least half of my herbs and spices inorganic, but I want them to be vegan.

    By the way, I think you’re awesome, and thank you.

    • KD Angle Traegner September 6, 2016 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Hi Carolyn!

      Great comment! You’re right- non-organic spices could contain anti-caking agents such as bone ash (calcium phosphate/tri-calcium phosphate). Anti-caking Agents are industry standard ingredients and by law, companies are not required to include them in their labeling. The only sure way to avoid these ingredients is by sourcing your spices through an organic company with transparent labelling practices. I also highly recommend looking for spices in bulk sections- they’re incredibly inexpensive when you buy bulk (even the organic ones) and you get to purchase only what you need. Once I discovered how cheaply I could buy spices in bulk I’ve never gone back to buying bottles of them again.

      And thank you for saying I’m awesome! I really appreciate that! I think you’re awesome too :)

  7. Karen May 19, 2016 at 3:02 am - Reply

    To thoes like Stephan that say a Vegan life style is expensive, Im sorry but you are dead wrong… If a full time college student that only works part time can afford to feed herself with what she makes Im sure anyone who has a job can afford to eat vegan! I actually have more cash to spend bow that im vegan. I calculated it out ant I eat on about 5-8 dollers a day… That’s pretty darn good considering a slab of steak is usually in that price range.

  8. Stephen Savage January 21, 2016 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Veganism really is a lifestyle only attainable by wealthy urban elites…

    • KD Traegner January 22, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Sorry Stephen, you’re wrong. One pound of black beans at Walmart costs $0.89, one pound of brown rice costs $1.18, and one pound of tofu costs $1.89. Certainly not something only the wealthy urban elites can afford. You can find dried beans, rice, and canned vegetables in places like dollar stores or convenience stores. A lot of vegan food is quite affordable and can be found anywhere.

      • Stephen Savage January 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

        Lol you listed three things…nice.

        • KD Traegner January 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm - Reply

          I listed more than that in the post above- complete with pictures in case you didn’t feel like reading the actual post :)

          • Katlyn February 10, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

            i am thirteen and i was vegetarian for 2 years and went vegan 3 months ago. my mom puts me in charge of grocery shopping and i have a budget of 100 dollars a month (encluding food for both of us and cat food,shampoo,etc) and vegan foods are fairly cheap ed least at Walmart. i buy fresh fruit, vegan meats,beans,rice,tofu and snacks and never go over budget

            • KD Traegner February 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

              This is incredibly awesome! You are setting a great example and busting stereotypes at the same time! :)

            • Bob March 16, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

              Good for you! But I hope you aren’t making your cat go vegan–they have to eat animal protein or they’ll become very sick.

    • Llama January 23, 2016 at 3:44 am - Reply

      its attainable by people who can shop smart. If anything, dairy foods and meat is the more expensive thing to buy. They are luxuries. To live without those is cheaper if you do your math right.

  9. Robert Tichnell Jr. January 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    new to the vegan lifestyle here.. I live in WV. I am trying to locate cheese in the p.burg area.. but not having much luck. Can anyone help?

    • KD Traegner January 22, 2016 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Walmart will sometimes carry vegan cheese, as will most mainstream grocery stores. If they don’t, feel free to talk to the customer service department of your favorite grocer and request it! Daiya is the brand that I commonly see at mainstream grocers so look for that brand :)

  10. Kenn October 11, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    It so nice to see a person who is from Ohio like myself and is vegan.

    • KD Traegner October 12, 2015 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Hi Kenn! It is so nice to see another friendly Ohio face! While there isn’t a huge vegan community where I live, the vegan community in Cleveland is alive and thriving. If you need some resources for the CLE or Columbus area, just let me know. Thank you for stopping by, it’s great to meet another vegan Ohioan :)

  11. Sharolaid October 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    what about vegan and organic at the same time? Non gmo for all? show me that.

    • KD Traegner March 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner! To clarify, the produce in the photos are organic and vegan too. Thanks for the comment!

      • autumn June 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

        Looking for vegan dog/cat food/supplies?

        • KD Traegner October 9, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

          Hey Autumn, I don’t think Walmart carries them. I suggest talking to your veterinarian before switching any of the dog or cat diets to a vegan diet to learn how/if it’s right for you and your furry friend- especially cats. Thanks for the comment!

        • Bob March 16, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply

          Cats physiologically have to eat animal protein to survive. Dogs can be vegan, but not cats.

          • thelackof May 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

            Not true. There are vegan tigers and lions and of course, household cats – by their own choice. And, not true in the first place.

            • Bob May 9, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

              Sorry for my ignorant statement. Since yesterday I’ve read a lot of information, and it appears that many cats can be vegan very successfully, while others may sicken/die. I loved reading the success stories.

  12. Iris July 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I just be came a vegeterian a few months ago And plan on going vegan in the next few months. Anyways, the problem I encountered was I’m on a budget. So now that I know walmart does offer vegan products I’ll be shopping there more often than I’d like to.

    • metronomic1 September 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      It’s a common misconception that being vegan is expensive. The majority of vegan staples like beans and brown rice are super cheap as are frozen vegetables. Just avoid the stuff marketed as vegan because it tends to be pricey.

      • Sexe douce sensationnel October 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

        Not a misconception, a truth.I personally would not buy FROZEN anything.PLEASE read the labels on things because some things(especially pre packaged) have added/ hidden ingredients which are animal by products that they use for flavoring.

        • KD Traegner October 9, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

          Absolutely is not true. Dried goods are cheaper than canned (beans, rice, etc) and there is nothing wrong with frozen vegetables. Often, they are better than their sodium-filled canned counterparts. There is an issue of accessibility for too many (IE: food deserts), but a diet rich in whole vegan foods is way cheaper than a cart filled with processed animal products.

          But we agree. Everyone should read the labels for hidden ingredients. Which is another point in favor of a whole vegan food diet- less label reading.

          Thanks for stopping by!

  13. modini June 26, 2014 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    You are lucky to have a WalMart with so many things. The WalMart by me does NOT carry tofu! Or Earth Balance spread. Or organic produce (except some ‘spring greens’). No the Harahan, Louisiana WalMart doesn’t have much. Not all WalMarts are the same.

    • KD Traegner June 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Modini, Sorry to hear that your local Walmart does not carry some of the items listed. Luckily other staples like beans, rice, pasta, nuts, seeds, fruits & vegetables (even if it is conventional produce), and non-dairy milks are easily found anywhere! You can also let your local Walmart know that you’d like them to start carrying items like tofu- you might convince them to start! Thanks for the comment!

    • Amber Mustard January 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Mine is lacking as well :(

      • Guest March 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

        Request the products you want them to get .And they will get them .So they will have lot of vegan products .

      • Dallas Potter March 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

        Request the products you want them to get .And they will get them .So they will have a lot of vegan products .

    • Dallas Potter March 18, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Request the products you want them to get .And they will get them .

  14. Bea September 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I wondered if I could create a balanced vegan menu for a week from items purchased at Walmart. 21 servings of protien, 21 servings calcium rich food, 35 servings vegetables, 21 servings fruit, 60 servings of grain for less than $30 that fits into a backpack and one shopping bag. I eat oameal with 2 T raisins and 2 T sunflower seed kernels, 1 cup soy milk hot chocolate, 1/12 carrot. For lunch a sandwich with boiled tofu slices, mustard, kale, 1/12 carrot or tofu dip with vetables and corn chips. For dinner pasta and bean salad or soup with veges and tofu. I spent $29.81

  15. Bea September 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Could a person eat a balanced vegan diet and spend less than $30/week? I assumed that a person had no staples in the house and spent $29.81. Day 5 and no problem so far. For breakfast 1 serving oatmeal with 2 T raisins, 2T sunflower kernels, 1 C vanilla soymilk hot chocolate,1/2 carrot. For lunch sandwich with boiled tofu slices with mustard, kale and carrot or tofu dip with veges and corn chips. For dinner bean and pasta salad or soup with veges and tofu. I am trying this for a friend who has to carry groceries on the bus so it fit in a backback and one bag; 21 servings protien, 21 servings calcium rich food, 35 servings vegetables, 60 servings grain/ week. Shopping list was: was 2 bunches of kale, raisens, cilatro, green onions with bulbs, garlic, oatmeal, salt, cucumber, olive oil, hershey cocoa, tofu, limes, tortila chips, wheat bread, vanilla soy milk, sunflower seed kernels, pasta, bulk carrots, 2 cans of beans (read the lable!) brown sugar. I do miss granny smith apples left behind.

  16. Ann August 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    The go veggie cheese is not vegan those are oky vegetarian. I’ve benn vegan since I was 15 and vegetarian since 8. I am now 23

    • Dallas Potter March 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      They have dairy free go veggie cheese .

      • KD Traegner March 19, 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

        You’re right! I recent discovered this as well. The nice thing about GV is that they changed the label colors of the vegan vs lactose vs lactose/soy free so it’s easy to find the vegan one when they are all sitting together. That said, the Go Veggie cheese pictured is only lactose free so that isn’t vegan. Thanks for the comment!

  17. Carrie August 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    What about bath & body products or pet products? Thanks!

  18. Barbara DeGrande March 14, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

    While I do not support WalMart, it is still encouraging that vegan products are becoming mainstream. Target near me has two full cases of Gardein, Boca, and other vegan/vegetarian foods. They also carry vegan laundry soap, dish detergent, and cleaning supplies. Kroger here carries vegan deli slices, tempeh, vegan bread, and vegan spreads as well as vegan chickless patties and burgers. Best of all, though, was discovering Costco, a company knowm for their legitimate business practices and career employment opportunities. They have coconul oil, agave, quinoa, vegan crackers, vegan cereals, lots of produce, vegan sugar, and many vegan snack options as well as the traditional foods mentioned above by Bea Elliott.

    • KD Traegner March 14, 2013 at 11:22 am - Reply

      @Barbara DeGrande – Thank you for the comment! The Target by me has all those things as well. I received a tweet from Walmart about carrying more vegan items so that was encouraging. I take it as an indication of changing times :)

  19. Heather March 14, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Yes the go veggie cheeses do have casiene in them, a milk protein. So OK for vegetarians, not so for vegans. Honestly tho, I’ve not really eaten all that much vegan cheese in a while. Every now & again I have a little slice of daiya, but I’m more interested in eating my veggies & fruits.

    • KD Traegner March 14, 2013 at 9:42 am - Reply

      @Heather, thanks for the clarification- I appreciate that :) I just want to mention again in case anyone missed it- we were specifically targeting the tofu, not the veggie cheese. This is why we talked the tofu in our photo excerpt and not the cheese.

    • Heather P. August 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      I agree and when I do eat vegan cheese, Trader Joes has the best vegan mozzarella cheese shreds and at a very inexpensive price too!

  20. Kim @ The Soulicious Life March 13, 2013 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Bravo! I don’t shop at Walmart for reasons mentioned above, but there was a time in my life – as a vegetarian, not vegan – that I did. And yes, options abound! Thanks for refuting the “status quo.” Now, if only we could bring entry-level vegans to the next level, ignoring processed foods (including meat and cheese substitutes) and cook more from scratch with all of nature’s lovely plants. Hmmm … idea for an upcoming post?

  21. Bea Elliott March 13, 2013 at 8:32 am - Reply

    The oddest thing about Walmart is that even though one might think they carry “everything” — Sadly missing are two shelf-stable items that would (I think) do remarkably well: TVP (textured vegetable protein) and nutritional yeast. It would be a wise decision to include these stables as they would sell to the ethnic market as well. That goes for the Florida-based grocery chain Publix too.

    Meanwhile Publix does carry tempeh, all Tofurky products, Gardein, AND they have their own “GreenWise” brand of frozen plant based meats.

    In any case all stores include a produce isle, beans, rice, pasta, nuts, seeds, etc. There really is no “economic” or “availability” excuses any more! ;)

  22. Karen O March 13, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Great article! Made my day. Honestly, I was shocked at all the vegan food choices available at Walmart.

  23. Yali Quiroga March 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I live in Puerto Rico so aside from the fact that we do not (gasp) have a Whole Foods (the horror, I know) places are a bit limited in vegan choices.. Although we do have a nice year-long selection of root veggies and fruits (score one for tropical island living). I thank you for this insightful article. Yes, we do have Walmart (honestly, who doesn’t). Thanks!! :)

  24. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul March 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    This is fantastic! No excuses : )

  25. Kaycee March 12, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I have noticed all of these things too! It’s really not that hard to go vegan anymore!

  26. Heather Stace March 12, 2013 at 11:41 am - Reply

    I thought the Go Veggie cheeses had a milk protein in them.

    • KD Traegner March 12, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

      @Heather Stace – They might, the shot was to get a picture of where the tofu lives, not the veggie cheese. We tried to leave things as they appeared at the store rather than rearrange to suit our photo shoot. The veggie dogs on the other side I think are vegan as well but mainly we were talking tofu.

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