How keep to Veganuary: Vegan Ingredients and Tips

Each year around 25% of Brits take on a New Year’s Resolution. They aim to improve their diet by using vegan ingredients, stop drinking alcohol, improve fitness or find ways to help with their mental health. Campaigns such as Veganuary and Dry January lead the way towards a healthier start to the year.

On an average year many of these resolutions fail by the 9th December, however, this year the Government’s introduction to yet another lockdown on the 6th January, seems to have sent our resolutions into the abyss, earlier than usual.

“… around 7.2 million British adults currently follow a meat-free diet.”

According to a survey done by, 86% of our UK population includes meat in their daily diet. Out of the non-meat eaters, 6% of are vegetarians, 5% pescatarian and then 3% are vegan. ‘This means that around 7.2 million British adults followed a meat free diet in 2020′.

Veganuary 2021 could give those figures a real boost with over 500,000 signing up to the campaign.

Taking into consideration the current growth and if consumers stick to their plans, 1 in 10 people in the UK (11%) could be increasing their a meat-free dining in 2021.

With so much (or so little) going on in the world right now, keeping focused on a new diet or a new lifestyle can seem very daunting.  So, we want to help you keep on track with ingredients and tips on making this lifestyle change easier to stick to.

Start vegetarian and move onto veganism

Health and fitness professionals all have their own fitness regimes, but one piece of advice they generally share is to start off slow and work your way up. This can also work when easing your body into a vegan lifestyle.

If you and your family are regular meat eaters, why not start off by swapping out your meat dinners for vegetarian dishes 3 or 4 times a week. Once you have a list of dishes that you are confident in, then you can work towards a full week of vegetarian options.

This can then be followed by a more vegan friendly diet, keeping an eye on what you drink and the sweet treats that you enjoy. Many foods that people think are vegan, contain hidden ingredients that contain animal product.

Don’t stress too much if you have the odd day of eating meat, once you get used to your new lifestyle, you will naturally start leaning towards the vegan choices.

This technique can help you maintain a plant-based lifestyle, rather than just for Veganuary.

Alternative vegan ingredients

Education is key when it comes to a vegan ingredients. Understanding the ingredients you are using, learning how different they taste when cooked using alternative methods and the health benefits that they offer.

There are small swaps you can make when cooking your favourite everyday dishes. Shredded and chopped pork or chicken can be swapped for jackfruit, minced meats can be swapped for beans and pulses and dairy can be swapped for coconut alternatives.

Meat Pulled pork/shredded chicken Pulled jackfruit
Diced pork/chicken Diced jackfruit, tofu
Minced beef Lentils, mushrooms, beans and pulses, chopped vegetables
Dairy Milk Coconut milk/ plant based milk
Cream Coconut cream/coconut cream
Cheese Plant based cheese
Ice cream Coconut ice cream
Other Stuffing Chestnuts
Thickening substitutes Chestnuts
Alcohol Vegan alcohol (wine/beers)

Vegan ready meals designed by the experts

So many retailers and food manufacturers have created fantastic ready meals that are quick and easy.

These vegan ready meals are great for those days when you have lost inspiration but want to keep on the right track.

Vegan ready meals are also great for those new to the lifestyle and looking for a little bit of inspiration.

This is just a small selection of retailers and manufacturers that offer a vegan range. We are always excited to share more, so please feel free to tag us in your ranges on Facebook or Instagram, so we can help spread the word.

Supermarket Own Vegan Ranges

The likes of Sainsburys, Waitrose and Tesco all have their own selection of vegan friendly meals from plant-based meats to dairy free snacks and desserts.

Plant Kitchen by M&S also seems like a popular choice amongst vegans on the go, with their delicious easy to cook lunches and dinners.

Plant Kitchen
M&S Vegan Range

Vegan Specialised Brands

Linda McCartney has been a household name in the meat-free market since 1994, offering a range dedicated to meat-free dining. From ready meals to meat alternative ingredients you can create your own vegan friendly masterpiece or enjoy something pre-made.

Inspired by a health Californian lifestyle, Bol foods offers a delicious array of power shakes, salad jars, dinner boxes, veg pots and shared dinners. Fresh, healthy and full of delicious plant-based ingredients, it has everything you need to kick start a vegan lifestyle.

Violife offers a range of vegan alternatives to cheese to help with effortless plant-based recipes. It is free from dairy, lactose, gluten, nuts and soya.

You will find a variety of alternatives in their range including cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan flavoured blocks, grated and slices along with spreads, creams and platters.

The Wicked Kitchen range is developed from a lifetime of working in kitchens, catering, cooking classes and farms. They are 100% plant-based, offering a delicious range that is not compromised in anyway.

From snacks and lunches to dinners and desserts, they have everything you need to enjoy a plant-based diet.

Vegan additions within household brands

The likes of Baxters, Food Attraction, Ben and Jerry’s plus many others all have vegan additions to their ranges. More brands are becoming more inclusive, understanding they have a huge number of customers who are looking for a more environmentally and animal friendly alternative.

Research the brands you use regularly and see what alternatives they can offer.

Research vegan bloggers

2019 became ‘the year of the vegan’, however this plant-based way of eating has been developed since 2010.

Well documented and researched, there are many bloggers and influencers who are dedicated to the lifestyle, offering fantastic information, advice and recipes.

If you are feeling a little un-inspired or need a boost, remind yourself with why you are making these choices. Whether it’s for health reasons, environmental purposes or personal feelings, they can help support your beliefs and put you back on the right path.

Influencers for vegan lifestyle

2021 may not have started off the way we expected, but we can make ourselves feel better by keeping on the right track.

Get in touch for inspiration

For any information regarding vegan alternatives and any vegan inspired recipe on our site, talk to the team on 01386 761555 or email



Allergen free ingredients: Let’s help broaden your range

Allergies are very common within the UK, with 1 in 4 people being affected at some point in their lives. Some have very minor symptoms and suffer for years without treatment, for others it can be a real health risk; every label must be read, ingredients checked and people around them notified.

Many recipes contain allergens, which make them unsafe to eat for those who suffer with allergies leaving their choices in food limited.

What are allergen free ingredients?

Allergen free or ‘allergen safe’ means that the food you are consuming or producing is free from detectable levels of allergens known for creating uncomfortable or health related symptoms.

They are free from the top 14 EU recognised allergens, which include: celery, gluten based cereals (oats and barley), fish, crustaceans (crabs, prawns and lobsters), molluscs (oysters and mussles), eggs, lupin, milk, , mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than 10 PPM – parts per million) and tree nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts).

Allergen free alternatives you can use in your produce?

There are many ingredients that consumers don’t expect to contain allergens. From alcohols to herbs and spices, they really can appear in many forms.

How great would it be if your customers could enjoy their favourite dishes, without worry and without losing some of the most vital flavours.

If you are looking to make your range more inclusive, here are some alternative ingredients to think about…

Coconut Aminos instead of soy sauce

Soy sauce is found in many products including flavourings, meat substitutes, frozen meals, Asians foods, peanut butters, condiments plus many more.

It is produced using two of the top eight allergen ingredients; soybeans and wheat.

The distinctive sweet, salty umami taste of soy is created with a clever delicate balance of components, which can be closely replicated using coconut amino’s.

Coconut aminos have over 70% less sodium than soy. It’s gluten free, soy free and utterly delicious; already winning over a selection of our customers.

It can be used in many recipes, whether it’s a simple salad dressing, within a sauce or to add flavour to ready meals and home recipes.

Coconut milk instead of cow’s milk

Coconut milk can be a delicious, creamy replacement for cow’s milk or cream. Possibly not within tea, but great for a flavoured coffee. Also fantastic in smoothies, ice creams, iced drinks, curries or puddings.

We have used coconut milk instead of dairy in our latest vegan chestnut cheesecake recipe, why not try it for yourself?

Note: In the US, coconuts are recognised as a tree nut, therefore are considered an allergen. This is not the case for the European market.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is one of the most common allergens, causing many uncomfortable symptoms until treated.

It is a type of protein found in various grains including rye, wheat and barley and most commonly used to make a product light and spongy in texture, including bread.

Many think going gluten free is great for weight loss, however this isn’t always the case. It is more beneficial when used as part of a long-term eating plan for consumers with gluten intolerance, sensitivity or coeliac disease.

What is the difference between coeliac disease and gluten intolerance?

Coeliac disease is an immune disorder which attacks the tissue of the small intestine over a long period of time. It leads to long term damage such osteoporosis, iron deficiency anaemia and vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anaemia.

Symptoms of coeliac disease includes stomach ache, diarrhoea, indigestion, constipation and bloating.

Gluten intolerance is a fairly common issue throughout the UK and worldwide and is characterised by a reaction to gluten. It offers similar symptoms to coeliac disease, but without the long term affects as it’s an allergy rather than a autoimmune disease.

A gluten free diet is the best way to control the symptoms of both coeliac disease and gluten intolerance.

How do you know if something is gluten free?

Gluten levels in food and drink are measured by PPM – parts per million.

Food that contains between 21 – 100 ppm is described as very low gluten, meaning they are OK for those who are intolerant. Food that is 20 ppm or less is gluten free and safe for those with coeliac disease.

Many ingredients are naturally gluten free, however their production environment runs the risk of cross contamination.

Our gluten free ranges are produced and packed in a gluten free environment, meaning you can cook and create with sound peace of mind.

Gluten free alcohol

Distilled alcohols such as vodka, bourbon, whiskey and scotch are great for making sauces, glazes, and sweet confections. They adapt texture, add flavour and offer real depth to a recipe.

We offer a great selection of branded and unbranded gluten free distilled alcohols, ready for use.

As well as being produced in a contaminated environment, certain wines also use a gluten fining process. The barrels they are stored in can at times be sealed with a wheat paste, meaning some wines you are drinking contain gluten.

You may be surprised to know, wine isn’t always vegan friendly either! Talk to the team about our vegan and gluten friendly wines so you can add extra flavour to your recipe.

Traditional beers, lagers and ales use wheat as their basic grain, meaning many of them contain gluten. Gluten free beers are available as they are based with cereals such as rice, corn, buckwheat or millet.

Whether you want a Merlot for your chilli, a beer to add flavour to your pie or a splash of brandy for your sauce, we have gluten free options to suit.

Gluten free herbs and spices

In their natural state, herbs and spices are gluten free. However, in some cases, they can be contaminated with wheat flour or starch to lower costs.

Our range of herbs and spices are wheat free, and safe to use within your upcoming taste sensation.

Gluten free seeds

Seeds are fantastic for helping boost food processor’s capability to create snacks and baked goods that are rich in nutrients.

Our range of gluten free seeds includes millet, pumpkin, linseed, chia, sunflower, buckwheat, nigella, sesame and caraway, plus many more.

Not only can they offer a new way to improve the health benefits of your produce, but they also add fantastic texture and flavour.

Talk to us about allergen free ingredients

There has been a huge shift in the food industry towards companies being aware of food intolerance and dietary requirements.

Customers are interested in what is going into their food and companies are adapting their production and ingredients to suit.

Variety is very important to our team at Brusco. We make sure our range includes allergen free, vegan friendly and choices between ambient and frozen products.

Talk to the team today on +44 (0) 1386 761555 or to discuss alternative ingredients to make your range more inclusive for customers with dietary requirements.

The Plant-Based Diet: how to live a healthier lifestyle

The main tip that health professionals always offer is to ‘not diet but change your lifestyle’.  Fad diets and unhealthy alternatives can help you lose weight quickly, but also help you gain it back even quicker

If you are looking to feel healthier, take control of your weight management and feel better physically, a plant-based diet could be for you.

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is more of a lifestyle choice. It involves adapting your eating habits to include plant-based whole foods including vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts and legumes, limiting the amount of animal produce.

Plant-based vs Vegan

The main different between vegan and plant-based choices is that a vegan lifestyle refrains from any animal produce, where as a plant-based diet gives the option of animal produce but focuses the diet mainly on produce from plant sources.

Vegan dieters cannot eat the likes of eggs, honey, dairy or any other animal derived produce. These are still an option for plant-based dieters, depending on their preference.

A plant-based lifestyle invites more ‘whole’ foods into their recipes. Whole foods have gone through very little, if any processing and stay in their original state.

Plant-based diet benefits

When switching to a plant-based diet, a high percentage of people have felt physically better with less fatigue and more energy, others have experienced weight loss and less stomach pain.

Enjoying a plant-based diet involves eating less sugar, fat and sodium allowing those who follow the diet to take control of their weight management, disease prevention and help towards a lighter environmental footprint.

Best replacements for a plant-based diet

For many texture is very important when eating, especially when taking on a new lifestyle. There are many substitutes you can enjoy when creating your own plant-based dinners, without straying away from the meals that you loved before.


One of our favourite healthy substitutes for meat is jackfruit.

Jackfruit is high in vitamin C, dietary fibre and potassium. Its texture is fibrous and dense and has been compared to banana, mango and pineapple.

It can be cooked in chunks or shredded, making it a great substitute in pulled pork, curries and as a replacement for pork or chicken.

If you are looking for a tried and tested pulled pork recipe, here’s one we made earlier!


Over the past few years, cauliflower has found its new lease of life. Once a side dish hidden below heaps of cheesy sauce during a roast (also delicious), now offering a focal point of its own.

The texture of cauliflower, if not over boiled is deliciously crunchy and the perfect addition to a curry. The nutty flavour works well with Indian spices and incredible when paired with creamy textures.

If you are looking for an alternative to rice, cauliflower is king. You can now buy in most supermarkets, but it is also very easy to make at home. Simply pulse your cauliflower in a food processor, heat and serve.

Thinking you will miss out on pizza on a plant-based diet? Not with cauliflower. With a quick blitz, microwave and moulding you will have a pizza base ready for all those delicious vegetables to be piled on.


Whether you are looking for crunch or creaminess, chestnuts have so many uses within a plant-based diet.

They can be cooked and prepared in many ways from a creamy chestnut puree, ready to be used in a ‘non-cheese cheesecake’ to adding extra texture to your summer salad.

We have no idea why chestnuts aren’t used more in recipes, so why not join us on our campaign to make chestnuts ‘not just for Christmas’.

Coconut milk

Many still use milk, crème fraiche or cream to add creaminess to their smoothies, ice cream or curries. Don’t lose that indulgent texture and switch to coconut milk instead.


Many already enjoy leeks as part of their weekly meal choices, whether it’s for a leek in cheese sauce, to add flavour to soups or mixed into a delicious quiche, however have you ever tried layering it in your lasagne as a replacement for pasta sheets?

The Hairy Bikers do an excellent recipe, worth a try! Our tip would be to cut them into manageable bite size sections, as the layers aren’t as easy to cut as pasta.

Another great vegetable for layering would be aubergines, also delicious when stuffed or roasted.

Get experimental with plant-based recipes

The main tip we would offer when creating your own plant-based recipes would be to experiment. So many plants, fruits and nuts change dimension when cooked differently.

Instead of boiling vegetables, try roasting, instead of eating your fruit cold, why not try heating on a griddle with some sugar? The flavours that come from changing your cooking habits are amazing, so why not give it a go.

It’s incredible what nature can offer.

For more information on plant-based ingredients, talk to our team today on 01386 761 555 or We have a great selection of jackfruit, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses ready for you to try. We will look forward to hearing from you.