There is now a growing number of options when it comes to vegan protein powders in the UK and globally. Whether you need protein supplementation on a vegan diet is something you will need to consider for yourself but the convenience of supplementation (especially for those who are trying to hit high levels of protein in their macros) cannot be ignored. Anyone looking to build muscle or simply add some extra protein to their diet would most likely benefit from some form of vegan protein powder but with new products coming on to the market faster than ever and with a varying degree of quality out there, we have taken it upon ourselves to scour the best vegan protein powders available in the UK.
We have whittled our testing down to a top 8, but before we dive in to them it is worth examining some of the fundamental issues around vegan protein supplementation and the difference between vegan protein powder and plant based protein powder.
Vegan Vs. Plant Based Protein Powder
Pretty much all vegan protein powders are plant based with their protein coming from sources such as peas, nuts, nut butters, brown rice, hemp and seeds such as chia, flax and pumpkin. It is worth noting that while plant based protein powders are also derived from these sources they are not always vegan friendly due to added ingredients that come from animal derived produce. For these reasons, we have only tested protein powders that are 100% vegan and are labelled as vegan friendly.
Until recently, vegan protein has not contained quite so much protein per serving as more traditional protein supplements such as whey protein. This is changing though as attitudes change and recipes become more sophisticated. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot hit a high daily protein intake with a well balanced vegan diet and vegan protein supplementation.
Benefits Of Vegan Protein Powder
Vegan protein powder has a number of benefits over whey protein but can also have benefits for those who are not necessarily looking to hit particularly high numbers for their protein macro. Leaving the ethics of animal derived ingredients to one side, anyone who has a lactose intolerance (even a mild one) will have experienced issues when using whey protein. Vegan protein is of course dairy free and so is ideal for anyone with such an intolerance and is generally speaking much easier to digest.
For anyone who is on a full vegan diet, there are some deficiencies that are likely to exist in your daily intake as a result of their lifestyle choice. The main one is a deficiency in Vitamin B-12 but there are a whole host of essential amino acids that can be low as a result of eating a wholly plant based diet. The best vegan protein powders will address this issue and include some or all of these nutrients as part of their protein blend which makes it a great all-round supplement for daily use.
Top 9 Vegan Protein Powders
As we have already mentioned, not all supplements are born equal and the optimal supplement for one person could be sub-optimal for another. We have listed our favourite vegan protein supplements in order of our preference but it is worth reading through to see which is the best option for you.
We have tried to give an indication of which is best suited to which type of user but we do recommend you read through each in detail.
Boxd Plant Based Protein
One of the newcomers on the market (or at least they are new to us), Boxd offers a range of plant based supplements with a key focus on sustainability. They very much aim their products at women but there is nothing to stop men from using their products too – and in fact, our team of gym ready guys tasted both the chocolate and vanilla flavours of Boxd Pea Protein blend and were raving about it.
Let’s address the elephant in the room straight off the bat… vegan protein shakes don’t generally taste great and often have a shocking texture. At least that’s what we thought until we tried these silky smooth shakes from Boxd. We genuinely could not believe we were getting this smooth texture from a vegan shake. Not only that, but the taste is great. The chocolate is pretty natural tasting and is certainly not over-powering. This subtle flavour was a refreshing change to the usually overly artificial flavours you get from many protein powders – vegan or otherwise.
We tried the shakes as standalone supplements and mixed with oats for a breakfast and this product worked well for both. For the oats we mixed with oat milk and as a shake we mixed with water and the taste was great for both flavours.
Boxd haven’t just focused on taste and consistency though, each serving packs a punch in terms of protein content and you also get a healthy dose of vitamins too. Expect 21g of protein per serving, coming from just 141 calories. You will also get 14mg of iron, vitamin B12 (plus 6 other B vitamins), vitamin C, Vitamin D and each serving is packed full of electrolytes.
There are no added sugars, Boxd is GMO and gluten free and is full of the good stuff. We really enjoyed Boxd and it’s a clear winner for us when it comes to plant based supplementation.
Form Performance Protein
Great For Post-Workout Or Overnight Oats
Form is well regarded as one of the best manufacturers of vegan protein and with very good reason. They have hit the nail on the head when it comes to taste, nutritional value and consistency. It is not the cheapest vegan protein by any stretch but the Form Performance is high quality protein supplement that is ideal for promoting muscle growth, joint health and good digestion.
With 30g of pea, brown rice, hemp and algae protein per serving and 5g of BCAAs, this protein powder is your ideal post-workout option. Another 5g of digestive enzymes make this supplement easy on the stomach and with three popular flavours (we tested Chocolate Peanut) it has been widely regarded as one of the best tasting protein powders on the market today. Curcumin and Black Pepper extract complete the nutritional side of things and provide you with a healthy dose of anti-inflammatories to help you recover after tough workouts.
We tested the Chocolate Peanut flavour and all we can say is wow! We have tasted a lot of protein supplements over the years and this one is simply stunning. The taste and consistency is second to none and we would actually suggest mixing it with water ahead of anything else. It is sweetened with Stevia so if you have an issue with Stevia you might want to give this a miss, but if not then this is about as good as it gets.
If you aren’t going to use Form Performance Protein as a post-workout supplement then you could try mixing it with oats and almond milk for an amazing overnight oats recipe or for a snack to enjoy through the day – you will not be disappointed in the quality.
SCI-MX V-Gain Protein
Most Affordable Quality Vegan Protein
SCI-MX Nutrition Pro V-Gain might just have one of the best pun names for any protein product but it is matched by a good quality blend that is just about the best value for money of all the vegan shakes we tested. Available in the big three flavours of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and providing a powerful 33g of protein per 45g scoop, this protein supplement is ideal for anyone looking to build muscle on a vegan diet and plans on using it on pretty much a daily basis.
The macro breakdown of V-Gain is pretty impressive with just 3.6g of carbs and 1.1g of fat for every 33g of protein consumed with just 159 calories per serving. There are 5.4g of BCAAs and each serving includes a healthy dose of vitamin B-6 and B-12 which helps fight fatigue and is key for anyone on a vegan diet where these vitamins can be deficient. The plant protein is derived from a blend of soy protein isolate, pea, rice, oat bran, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and amaranth. SCI-MX also add their own Vit-MX sports blend which is a combination of added vitamins and minerals such as calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Aside from the nutritional benefits, V-Gain creates a tasty protein shake that can be mixed with water or nut/plant based milk and still tastes great and has an impressive consistency compared to other vegan protein blends. We tested the chocolate and vanilla flavours and both were delicious.
Thanks to the low price point, this is a sustainable vegan protein for daily use and is ideal for general use or post-workout.
MyVegan Pea Protein Isolate
Excellent For Building Lean Muscle
MyVegan is an offshoot of MyProtein and while the name might not be wholly imaginative the product is good – what’s more, it has one of the biggest range of flavours and also includes a 100% natural unflavoured version if you just want the protein to add to your own flavourings. MyProtein is the biggest manufacturer of protein in Europe and they ship worldwide with a growing global audience. They are UK based and they have a range of vegan friendly products. Their Pea Protein Isolate is of particular interest as it has an excellent overall profile that is perfect for anyone looking to increase their protein intake.
This low carb, low fat shake will deliver 22g of protein per 30g serving with just 0.3g of fat and 1.7g of carbs per serving – if you compare that to any kind of whey protein then it is about as good as it gets for building lean muscle. It contains all 9 of the amino acids and although it is a little lacking in some other nutritional areas, as a pure protein supplement it is excellent. As the name suggests, it is made from 100% pea protein and it has just 107 calories per serving.
MyVegan Protein can be mixed with water or nut milk and comes in two coffee flavours, unflavoured, chocolate, strawberry or banana. We tested the chocolate flavour and although it wasn’t the tastiest shake we tested it was perfectly drinkable and had a good non-lumpy consistency.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant
Excellent All-In-One Supplement For A Range Of Users
Optimum Nutrition is widely regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of protein when it comes to non-vegan protein and they have adopted the same name for their vegan plant based variety. Although their 100% Plant protein is not as cheap as some of the other brands, it does have one of the most impressive nutritional profiles of all the supplements we tested and is packed with BCAAs, essential amino acids, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C.
There are three flavour options to choose from with Berry, Chocolate and Vanilla. We tested the latter and found the taste to be on a par with their non-vegan vanilla (which is very good). Each serving provides 24g of protein, 4.2g of carbs and 2.4g of fat and has a slightly higher than average 143 calories. The comparatively higher carb profile makes this an ideal post-workout supplement but it can be taken any time of day and be used by those who are training or not.
This product is gluten free but it is made in a factory where gluten is used so coeliacs should take heed. Anyone looking for a full range of supplements in one easy to drink and tasty shake will find this provides good value for money and can easily become a daily staple.
Gorilla Juice Vegan Protein
Great tasting juice-like protein packed with 14 superfoods
Gorilla Juice is another UK based protein manufacturer that has a superb vegan protein supplement in their Gorilla Juice Vegan Protein. This is absolutely packed full of the good stuff and in addition to the pea and brown rice protein it has a range of 14 superfoods that are full of vitamins and minerals. Gorilla juice is free from any additives, colourings, artificial sweeteners, soy and gluten and has just 98 calories per serving.
Despite providing such a low calorific intake, Gorilla Juice has 19g of protein for every 25g serving and has just 1.3g of fat and 5g of carbs.
We tried the Strawberry Shabang flavour and to say it was bursting with juicy goodness would be an understatement – it tastes amazing. Gorilla Juice focus more on making their products taste like juices than shakes and this is a smart move. Thanks to the all natural ingredient profile found in this supplement it creates a super smooth consistency that tastes great. Gorilla Juice is Informed Sports approved as well as being certified by The Vegan Society.
If you want something high quality, juicy and full of natural goodness while still packing a protein punch then at around £1 per serving Gorilla Juice is a great buy. You can even send your packaging back to them and they will reuse it for the ultimate in sustainability.
Nu3 Vegan Protein 3K
Ideal for anyone wanting high protein with very low carbs
Nu3 Vegan Protein is another high quality option when it comes to plant based protein supplements. With a wide range of flavours (6 in total) and a nutrient dense profile, this protein powder is reasonably priced and available in 1kg and 2kg variants. We tested the vanilla flavour and found it be both tasty and easy on the stomach – likely due to Nu3 having a low chemical profile rating. The protein is derived from peas, hemp and rice and you will find a complete essential amino acid profile in each scoop.
Each serving has 21.4g of protein, 1.2g of fat and 1.4g of carbs which makes this an ideal powder for anyone looking to build lean muscle or who is looking to cut.
Nu3 suggest mixing their powder with almond milk but we found it mixes just as well with water and whilst you lose a little bit of the richness and sweetness this actually makes it taste better in our opinion.
You can use Nu3 as a pre or post-workout shake or you can mix it with oats for a carb loaded snack.
All in all, Nu3 is an excellent vegan protein shake that hits the spot every time in terms of taste.
Bulk Powders Vegan Series
Best Environmentally Friendly Protein
Bulk Powders make some pretty decent protein powders in their standard range and whilst their vegan range isn’t quite so impressive from a taste perspective it still stacks up some pretty impressive numbers. At 135 calories per 35g serving you are getting 22.9g of protein with a moderate 2.1g of fat and 3.6g of carbs. The protein blend is made up of rice, pea and pumpkin protein and there are an impressive 8 flavours to choose from.
We tested the vanilla flavour and although it was palatable it was certainly not what you would consider great tasting. The pay-off here though is that it is incredibly affordable. The consistency is a little grainy but is better when mixed with water than nut milk. If the packaging is important to you then you will be glad you know that it comes in a 100% compostable packaging.
There is an added DigeZyme mix of digestive aids such as amylase, protease, lactase and cellulase and this helps to give that non-bloated feeling after consuming this protein. It is Soya and Gluten free and has a pretty decent nutritional profile for a good price.
Battle Ready Fuel Vegan Protein
Perfect Post-Workout Protein
Battle Ready is a relative new comer to the UK vegan protein market but it is one of our favourite options when it comes to plant based protein thanks to a great tasting, high protein and low fat makeup. This 900g option comes in two handy 450g tubs which are easy to take with you for on the go use if needed.
Battle Ready Fuel is a UK company headed up by Ollie Ollerton of SAS: Who Dares Wins fame. The ex-special forces operative decided to set up Battle Ready Fuel to bring a quality product to market that focused on optimising mind, body and nutrition.
The peanut butter flavour is one of the best tasting vegan protein shakes we have tried and it has a high nutrition value thanks to it including a range of amino acids and digestive enzymes which make it really easy on the stomach. There is a whopping 25.5g of protein per 30g scoop which mainly comes from pea and hemp protein. In addition to this, you get Inulin (which is a prebiotic), ginger, Moringa and Chlorella which provide a range of vitamins and anti-oxidants. Battle Ready Fuel also has something called DigeZyme which is a blend of digestive enzymes (protease, amylase, lactase, lipase and cellulase) that aid digestion and reduce bloating that is often associated with protein supplementation.
This is a high level protein shake that focuses on overall health but thanks to its impressive profile and high protein content it is ideal as a post-workout protein. You will not get quite the same rapid release of protein that whey protein gives you but combining this shake with some slow release carbs will help your muscles refuel and repair following a tough workout. It is also suitable for anyone just looking to increase their protein intake and for those purposes it can be taken at any time of day in addition to a balanced diet.