As a Los Angeles food and product photographer, it probably doesn’t surprise you when I say that I’m a major foodie. I think it’s impossible to photograph delectable chef-inspired creations and not want to eat it all. (Actually, I try to eat before food sessions so I’m not tempted – ha!)
That being said, it can be tricky to love food and live a vegan lifestyle. Thankfully, vegan options get better every year. However, you can’t just buy any vegan product off the shelf and expect it to be good. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and here a few things I consider before purchasing a product.
It doesn’t make much sense to choose vegan if the brand doesn’t care about the environment. Most vegan brands make this a priority, but it never hurts to double check their methods and values.
This one’s hard to research. You can check reviews and go off of recommendations. If all the other boxes on this list are checked, go ahead and give it a try.
Products can have a vegan label while using ingredients that aren’t so great. Vegan doesn’t always mean healthy. Check the label first, especially if you prefer products free of soy, preservatives, and GMO/pesticides.
How did they get their start, and what do they stand for? I’m one of those people who loves reading the About page. I want to know that I’m supporting something good.
I don’t mind paying up for a good company who makes a good product, but I won’t buy if I think their pricing is unfair or they’re trying to take advantage of people who want to make healthier choices. I’m all about transparency. Go with brands you can trust.
With those criteria in mind, these are some of my favorite vegan brands:
SO delicious and SO awesome. I love everything about this brand. Not only do they use certified non-GMO and organic ingredients, but they’re also part of the nonprofit B Corporation Movement. Their products taste good, feel good, and do good! They offer several options for non-dairy milk, creamer, frozen treats, shreds, and yogurt. Plus, they mention transparency as part of their mission statement.
This creamery was founded by American chef and leading vegan advocate Miyoko Schinner. For savory foods that need butter and cheese, this brand is my go-to. I don’t know how she does it, but Miyoko has magically transformed plant ingredients into the melty goodness you crave. Artisan vegan cheese is now a thing. Gourmet grilled cheese? Yes, please! They guarantee the very best ingredients, and I love watching their inspiring Compassion Chronicles. Plus, you can buy it at most common grocery stores.
This Swedish brand started off small in the 90’s and developed a cult following over the years – in the very best way. They specialize in oat products: oat milk, oat creamer, “oatgurt,” oat ice cream… And they’re damn good at it. I love their insanely honest messaging – what you see is what you get with them. And they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to not only do good, but do better.
Vegan eggs? Not a feat many can master. At least not well. JUST plant-based “eggs” and JUST mayo are perfection! They’re egg-free, cholesterol-free, and non-GMO. They’re surprisingly fluffy and delicious. Earth-friendly? You betcha – they boast that their methods “use 98% less water, have a 93% smaller carbon footprint, and use 86% less land than conventional animal sources.” Awesome! They publish their impact reports to prove it.
Want to know some of my favorite vegan restaurants? Read THIS POST.
One More Thing…
I know, you were here for the food, but I have a little bonus for you: my favorite vegan skincare line! The Ordinary offers “clinical formulations with integrity.” They’re a verified brand, and I can personally attest that their products make your skin feel great! Not only are they vegan/cruelty-free, they’re also free of toxic ingredients. Try them out!
Lindsay is a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her HERE for product marketing!