Vegans are well-accustomed to being asked the age-old question: “where do you get your protein?” The answer is breathtakingly simple: from plants. But if you’re looking for the best (and whey-free) vegan protein powders for added performance, it can be tricky to know where to look.
Getting enough protein in a plant-based diet is not hard. Meat substitutes, especially seitan and tempeh, are very effective, but so too are plenty of vegetables, grains, and legumes. However, for gym-going people on a mission to build lean muscle and better stamina, sometimes a vegan protein powder is the preferred option. And that’s what we’re going to test.
Judging the UK’s best vegan protein powders
Deciding on a rubric for judging vegan protein powders is tricky, as what works for one person might not give the oomph needed to another. With that in mind, we are going to test and rate 10 readily available brands of protein powder against the following:
Taste (we are not looking for artificial sweetener aftertastes here)
Mixability (gritty drinks are not it in 2023)
Flavor choice (not everyone wants vanilla or chocolate only)
Macros (how much protein do you get per serving, compared to fat, carbs, and calories?)
Price (can we find a balance of great macros without reaching unaffordable levels?)
For consistency, each sample will be mixed with water only and tested after a one-hour gym session. During the workouts, no more than one liter of water will be consumed and the protein shakes will be drunk within one hour of leaving the gym (for optimum performance).
On with the reviews.
Honest review of vegan-friendly protein powders in the UK
Founded by former supermodel Elle Macpherson, WelleCo offers a range of supplements, including organic vegan protein powder.
Claiming to be clean, lean, and developed to support strong muscle growth, the vegan protein powder contains pre and probiotics and all nine essential amino acids, making it more than just a post-gym shake.
Taste: We tried the chocolate and can’t lie: this was not a good-tasting shake. We had super high hopes, but as the world has told us for decades, beauty is pain. And drinking this was pain. The flavor was not only subtle but also straight-up peculiar. However, we wonder if this might be an acquired taste that eventually we could learn to endure. Macpherson recommends adding fruit, other WelleCo supplements, and almond milk to the vanilla protein, but that’s not a fair representation of a product’s basic taste.
Mixability: A little gritty, which we assume contributed to the not-so-great taste. We tried again with super cold water, and mixing in a blender, but the texture always remained.
Flavor choice: We’re sorry to say that chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored are the only options. Honestly, something along a coffee theme might have worked a little better with the texture of the product, so perhaps that’s something for Elle to think about.
Macros: Each serving provides 123 calories, 16 grams of protein, 2.2 grams of fat, and 7.4 grams of carbohydrates. For a protein powder, this is on the lower end of the protein delivery spectrum as most brands seem to aim for 20 or more grams per serving. The carbs could also be an issue for anyone on a strict ‘cut’ but they do provide good energy.
Price: The regular price is £29 for 300g, which gives you nine shakes. £3.20 is a little steep for a prepare-at-home drink, in our opinion.
Overall: Sadly, this is one product that just doesn’t hit the right taste note or protein levels for us. It’s worth saying that we didn’t want to give up on the WelleCo products, so we tried baking with them and this was a bit more successful. Alongside other ingredients, the chocolate flavor popped a little more and added valuable extra nutrition to some energy balls.
Try Elle Macpherson’s protein powder here.
Bioglan is an Australian company that focuses on producing supplements and powders that put “superfoods” at their core. More unusually, its protein powders are specifically designed to be added to other foods and drinks, to top up the protein levels, while also adding extra benefits.
The Super Protein line that we tried can be added to almost anything. It claims to help with hormonal balance and sustained energy levels.
Taste: Undetectable. Once added to a drink or recipe, the taste is not noticeable at all. When mixed with water, the flavor is inoffensive and neutral.
Mixability: The Bioglan dissolved well in both water and the smoothie that we added it to, after a workout. We followed the instructions, adding just 10g to our drink and it integrated well.
Flavor choice: Not applicable here, but there is also a “Beauty Protein” option which features vegan collagen and is also neutral in taste.
Macros: This is where things get interesting. A 10-gram serving delivers 37 calories, 7.5 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and 0.4 grams of carbohydrates. If a standard protein powder portion were used, that would bring the clean protein delivery up to 21.5 grams. with still negligible fat and carb levels. There are no daily serving limits printed on the packet, so we assume you can sprinkle at will.
Price: A 100-gram pouch costs £13.49 and offers 10 servings. £1.35 a serving seems fairly priced, given the versatility of the product.
Overall: An interesting concept and one that we can see working for people who are new to protein supplementing. Just add to existing foods and drinks and you’re done, with none of the dirty shaker debacles that regular vegan protein powders induce. We have to admit that we did have more energy in the afternoon as well.
Find out more about Bioglan here.
And now for something completely different and fun. Shreddy is a technicolor assault on the senses that you might already recognize as a fitness app brand.
Founded by “fitfluencer” Grace Beverly, Shreddy evolved to include a range of protein powders, pre-workouts, and daily vitamin supplements, alongside the unapologetically fun, yet performance-driven app. And everything is vegan-friendly too.
Taste: Excellent. Sweet, but not sickly and with no artificial tang afterwards, we enjoyed the chocolate cookie dough flavor immensely. In fact, it felt like a cheat day drinking it after a workout. Using only pea protein, the powder avoids the sometimes noticeable taste of soy isolate too.
Mixability: We can’t fault the mixability here. No need for a blender, we managed to get a perfectly smooth and combined drink with a few shakes of a mixer bottle. We were also pleasantly surprised at the consistency of the finished drink, which was neither too watery nor too thick, but felt appropriate for the flavor.
Flavor choice: Great. Shreddy looks to create fun recipes but also offers a classic profile for those with a more sensitive palate. Chocolate cookie dough and salted caramel ice cream are the more outlandish options, with classic French vanilla added into the mix for good measure.
Macros: A standard 30-gram serving delivers 121 calories, 22 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and seven grams of carbohydrates. This is a great breakdown for our goals, as we prioritize lower fat and sugars with high protein yield. Carbs are needed for energy and seven grams for 22 of protein feels like a very good trade-off.
Price: A 510-gram bag contains 17 servings and costs £20. This makes each protein shake cost around £1.17 which is exceptionally good value.
Overall: This is a vegan protein powder we will buy again. The macros are great, the value for money is impossible to ignore and we got a good energy boost from using it too. Tasting great feels like the ultimate cherry on top at this point and we are seriously considering trying the pre-workout now.
Shreddy gets extra bonus points for being sustainably minded. In addition to going scoopless in its pouches, the packets themselves are fully plant-based and home compostable. We love to see it.
Try Shreddy yourself here.
Hush & Hush
Easily one of the fanciest-looking protein powders we have ever seen, Hush & Hush’s PlantYourDay claims to not only give you a protein hit, but also nourish the gut and support healthy skin. That’s a big claim, but the ingredients do lend themselves to some sorcery.
Featuring a blend of organic pea and pumpkin protein, alongside pro and prebiotics, and “clean clinical vitamins,” the powder can be mixed as a simple protein shake or a full meal replacement, when boosted with plant milk, fruits, and veggies.
Taste: The initial smell had us excited. It reminded us of proper hot chocolate and promised a big, deep chocolatey hit. The taste, while not disappointing exactly, was a little less decadent and more healthy in vibe and was very palatable. No sickly aftertaste here and a cheeky feeling that you’ve just nourished your body appropriately.
Mixability: No complaints at all. A swift and smooth mix that didn’t surprise us with any dry powdery chunks mid-glug.
Flavor choice: It’s a bold move to only offer one flavor (chocolate vanilla) but it works, so why complicate the process? However, for anyone who isn’t a choccy fan, this could get old every day. A fruitier option would probably be well received.
Macros: One 33.5-gram serving delivers 110 calories, 17 grams of protein, two grams of fat, and five grams of carbohydrates. It’s not the biggest protein hitter but given that it is designed to be an optimal health product, not just a muscle builder, it’s not too bad.
Price: The pricing here is scary. One jar contains seven servings and costs, wait for it, £48.30. That makes each shake cost around £7. It’s a formidable price bracket, especially if you intend to drink a protein shake each day, but if you subscribe for regular deliveries, you do get 20 percent off.
Overall: A good idea and a nice flavor but we are not able to recommend something so expensive. It would be cheaper to add other superfood additives to a regular vegan protein powder, while probably gleaning similar results. Even the gorgeous packaging doesn’t warrant the cost for us here.
Make up your own mind about PlantYourDay here.
Arbonne is an all-rounder when it comes to offering products designed to improve health and wellbeing. As such, it came as little surprise that they have a range of protein powders. It was, however, a pleasant shock that they are vegan-certified and that Arbonne itself is B-Corp. Who knew?
We tried the FeelFit protein, which boasts less than one gram of sugar per serving but more than 20 vitamins and minerals essential for health.
Taste: We sampled the strawberry vegan protein powder and found it very pleasant. It didn’t have that unfortunate artificial strawberry tang that leaves you reaching for a glass of water and nor did it feel like a watered-down milkshake. Just a refreshing, balanced flavor that was very inoffensive.
Mixability: You have to either mix and drink quickly or master a swirl and sip technique to prevent any “settling” of powder at the bottom here. That being said, once mixed, the drink was smooth and no grittiness was detected. It mixed perfectly well in a simple hand shaker too.
Flavor choice: Just as we assumed the safe route had been chosen, with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla options, in swoops coffee to mix things up. And what a welcome addition it is, as it makes a post-morning workout shake feel somehow more appropriate.
Macros: A serving is two scoops or 31 grams. This will give you 127 calories, 20 grams of protein, four grams of fat, and three grams of carbohydrate. Though the fat instantly looks a little higher than some, it is a gentle reminder that our bodies need fat to survive and thrive.
Price: It’s another yikes moment, or is it? At first glance, £74 per bag seems like a hefty outlay but each pouch contains 30 servings. This makes each shake come in at just under £2.50. Plus, if you join Arbonne as a “preferred client,” the price drops to £59.20.
Overall: The convenience of having a month’s supply in one bag is hard to beat, as is the addition of a coffee option. We’re fans, but it doesn’t quite excite us. Maybe some limited flavors that hit a more adventurous note could cure that.
Try Arbonne for yourself here.
A fitness food company based in Germany, Foodspring doesn’t just sell protein powders. A quick look around the website brings a whole new world of protein-infused goodies to the table, though not many are vegan as whey protein seems to be a favorite here.
Nonetheless, there is a vegan protein powder range and we tried it. The cookie dough flavor to be exact, and we have some thoughts.
Taste: We couldn’t put our finger on what the taste reminded us of for so long that when we finally did, we couldn’t be annoyed, just amused. It’s Play-Doh! Unfortunately, the artificial notes were just too strong for this to be an easy sip, which is a shame as the packaging is lovely and sustainable.
Mixability: Again, a little disappointing. Still quite powdery even after a hefty shake. We popped it in the blender and this seemed to solve the problem, but there isn’t always time (or inclination) to dirty an appliance.
Flavor choice: Chocolate, vanilla, and cookie dough feel like a familiar trio but a comforting one. Perhaps the vanilla is a little more neutral (other customer reviews appear to imply this). Or maybe it would be a good base for some fruit and other additions that would mask a less palatable taste.
Macros: The macros are pretty good. Each 30-gram serving delivers 116 calories, 21 grams of protein, 2.9 grams of fat, and 0.6 grams of carbohydrates. This would make it very suitable for anyone trying to marry plant-based and keto dietary approaches.
Price: For £29.99, you get a 750-gram container, which gives 25 shakes. They, therefore, cost £1.20 a piece, which is very reasonable.
Overall: We have to admit that the cost and recyclable packaging go a long way to overcoming our taste issues and make us willing to try other options. If the vanilla can be appropriately pepped up with some spinach, berries, and a little agave, we could definitely recommend Foodspring.
See what you make of Foodspring here.
A no-nonsense fitness brand, Ultimate Performance is uniquely positioned to create protein powders, as it provides personal training as well. This is a company that knows what the body needs to fuel itself and how to unlock more potential, so we were excited to try a no-frills product.
And perfunctory it is. As you’ll see, the macros are great, but flavor choice? Not so much.
Taste: We tried the salted caramel protein and it was fine. Not nasty, not exciting, and easily drinkable. In fact, we got in the spirit of Ultimate Performance and chugged it, then went out for a bike ride.
Mixability: Great. As you’d expect, this powder mixed quickly and easily in a hand shaker, needing no other finessing to produce a smooth drink.
Flavor choice: What choice? It’s salted caramel or nothing, guys. We’re glad it wasn’t just good old chocolate though.
Macros: Here’s where Ultimate Performance shines. Each 32-gram serving gives you 118 calories, 24 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, and 2.1 grams of carbohydrates. It’s unlikely that these stats wouldn’t fit with anybody’s nutrition goals.
Price: For £32.99 you get a one kilo bag, containing 31 servings. That brings each shake in at around £1.06. Frankly, that’s a staggeringly affordable price for a daily protein supplement.
Overall: Honestly, the flavor could have been awful and we would still come back to this protein, just for the macros and sheer good value. The fact that it is genuinely pleasant (weirdly, the flavor has grown on us over a few days too) is an added bonus. If the company ever makes a mint choc chip flavor, it will be unbeatable. We will die on this hill.
Try Ultimate Performance here.
jrny has set out to do something different. As such, it has created a female-specific protein shake that it says tastes superior, even when mixed only with water and replaces the need for a daily multivitamin pill. That’s a big claim.
The company also says that a daily shake will improve energy levels within seven days and support women as they embark on their “jrny.” But can it do all this and taste good too?
Taste: We wanted to hate the raspberry ripple and we don’t know why. It sounded as though it would be sickly, but in reality, it was a delight. So fresh and natural tasting, it was a huge shock and leaves us in no doubt that the other flavors are just as pleasing.
Mixability: Nothing to complain about, though the pouches can be bothersome to open. We inhaled as much as we drank the first time around. However, the prepared shakes feel smooth and well combined.
Flavor choice: Raspberry ripple is the most outlandish on offer, but Madagascan vanilla, and chocolate will no doubt be favorites for many.
Macros: Given the deliciousness, we had low expectations for protein yield. How wrong we were. A 30-gram serving delivers 122 calories, 21 grams of protein, 1.3 grams of fat, and 6.6 grams of carbohydrate.
Price: Each pouch costs £29.95 and contains 30 servings. This brings the individual serving price to just under £1. Plus, if you subscribe, the cost drops to £26.96. We were honestly floored by the value here.
Overall: jrny is a great name for this company as we went for a ride. At first, we expected the trendy name to give way to a sub-par or aesthetically driven product, but in reality, it was one of the best protein powders we have ever tried (and we’ve tried a lot!). Ethical, sustainable, and geared entirely towards plant-based women, we cannot say enough positive things about this brand and its vegan protein powder.
Try jrny for yourself here.
While not a vegan protein powder in the traditional sense, Hux has developed a superfood blend designed for daily use, which also happens to be high in protein. The product itself is intriguing, promising a wealth of health benefits, including better immunity and hormone regulation, so we wanted to give it a try.
Containing 17 organic superfoods, B12, and organic pea protein, it’s a bold move to limit the flavor choices but as you’ll see, it paid off (mostly).
Taste: Earthy. That’s the only word we can accurately use for this protein drink, but that’s not meant to be a negative. The first sip takes your senses by surprise but they quickly adapt and once the smugness that you’re drinking something healthy kicks in, you’re away and enjoying it. We tried the vanilla option but can imagine there is little to differentiate between this and the original, as the vanilla is very subtle.
Mixability: A little granular but that feels like acceptable territory somehow. Perhaps the overarching health focus makes us expect a less polished texture? It reminded us a little of wheatgrass powder when added to water and it’s just as green!
Flavor choice: Very limited with just two. Vanilla is a safe bet but the devils inside us want to see how we would fare with the original too. Are we hardcore healthy enough though?
Macros: Each 25-gram serving delivers 81 calories, 13 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat, and 5.2 grams of carbohydrate. Again, not the biggest protein hitter of the bunch but with 500 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin D and 625 percent of vitamin C requirements, there seems to be some valuable compromise at play.
Price: Let’s be honest: you know this one is not going to be cheap. Everything about it looks and sounds expensive and it is. Each container weighs 500 grams and comes in at £58, making individual drinks £2.90. That’s not the worst, but considering the smaller protein dose, you might think twice. If you commit to a three-month subscription, the price comes down by 30 percent.
Overall: We wanted to hate this vegan protein powder just because it looked too fancy for us, but it’s great. A truly beneficial drink that offers more than just some protein and artificial flavor, it tastes and does good. And if we win the lottery, we might consider a subscription.
Check out Hux here.
Offering a wide range of vegan protein powders and supplements, MYVEGAN has become a go-to resource for cost-conscious active vegans. We’ve used their standard vegan protein blend before and found it to be great value for money and effective, but it’s the clear protein that we wanted to try this time around.
Clear drinks are a good option for anyone that finds the thicker element of traditional vegan protein powder hard to get down. However, there’s that fear in the back of your mind that they will taste weird, right?
Taste: We tried the apple and elderflower clear protein and what a revelation! It was like drinking a nice glass of squash instead of chugging a shake and offered great refreshment after the gym.
Mixability: Make sure you give this one a good shake, as we had a couple of lumps. Once these were dealt with, the drink itself was a nice, smooth, and fast-running consistency. Pay attention to the instructions and let the drink settle for a few minutes before drinking too. Trust us.
Flavor choice: Excellent. There’s something for everyone, from tangy lemon and lime to blackcurrant and everything in between. The watermelon sounds extra refreshing.
Macros: The serving size is 16 grams, so half the normal protein portion. Bear this in mind! Each drink provides 51 calories, 10 grams of protein, zero fat, and 2.5 grams of carbohydrates. If you were to have a couple of drinks, you’d soon hit very competitive macro levels.
Price: Two container sizes are available, with either 20 or 40 servings inside. Buy the larger tub for £44.99 and you’ll get the best value, with drinks coming in at £1.12 each.
Overall: This is going to be a must-have in our cupboard. On hot summer days, when the post-workout thirst hits, this will be a welcome treat and still help us to reach our goals.
Try MYVEGAN clear vegan protein powder here.