When it was announced Sainsbury’s would be launching Naturli’ Foods vegan burgers and ‘mince’ I wanted give it a whirl, despite the fact it was reported they would be shelved in the meat aisle of the supermarket. Although my son is not vegan, we have a very clear rule in our house that I won’t cook or buy animal products, so have never ventured down there since becoming a vegan. Sainsbury’s rationale was to encourage others to try the plant based alternative, which is healthier and better for the environment. They said that meat-eaters may not venture to the vegetarian/vegan section so may not encounter these products, so what better way to introduce them than by displaying them prominently beside their meaty opponents!
Some believe that Naturli’ products are not for vegans and this unique plan by the supermarket is perfect for reaching their proposed demographic. I disagree to an extent as I was eagerly awaiting the mince and burgers arriving at the chain. I have no qualms in eating products that resemble meat, so long as they are 100% plant based. I didn’t stop eating meat because I didn’t like it, I stopped eating it for ethical reasons.
Anyhoo, today (27th June) saw the products arrive in selected stores (a list can be found here of stockists) and I hotfooted it down to my local Sainsbury’s to buy them. I had hoped to see them amongst the Quorn and Linda McCartney in the refridgerated section but the reports were true. I asked a member of staff to direct me as the last thing I wanted to be staring at was rows of meat. Low and behold Sainsbury’s had also put POS (point of sale) highlighting the new range.
The burgers are £2.50 for 2 and the mince is £3 for 400g. Not particularly bad pricing, especially when you see the meat alternatives beside them. Both are made from soya and are coloured with beetroot. It felt a bit strange handling the raw ingredient as it felt similar to its bovine equivalent. The mince took around 10 minutes to cook through in a pan with a little oil, while the burgers were a speedy 5 minute fry.
The mince doesn’t brown in the way meat does which did make it difficult to gauge whether it was cooked through. It became crumbly as it cooked and seemed to soak up the oil from the pan.
I was keen to see what my son thought of this meat substitute, especially as he is always so vocal about how vegans should stick to eating vegetables and not something that resembles a deceased animal. He positively wolfed down his bowl and asked for seconds! To me it doesn’t have the exact same texture as beef mince but is definitely one of the best soya versions we’ve tried. The taste is meaty and I think that comes from the umami malt extract.
The burgers looked less impressive when cooked but the important thing was the taste. They did appear to ‘bleed’ while cooking, which is clearly the beetroot working. I placed ours on some kitchen paper to blot off the excess oil before serving in a bun. I think they’ll BBQ well and they didn’t seem as sticky as Iceland’s No Bull Burgers.
Naturli’s Patties got a big thumbs up from us, too. They aren’t as thick as Linda McCartney’s 1/4 Burgers or No Bull but they have a superior flavour and texture. We will have to revise our Top 5 Vegan Burger list now 🙂
We definitely recommend making a trip to Sainsbury’s to try this new range out and look forward to seeing more from this company in the future. We hope that even the staunchest of meat eaters gives Naturli’ a go as even reducing your consumption of animal products can make a difference to the environment and health.
Thanks for reading,