Woolies has always been very expensive but seem to be reasonably accommodating to Vegans and their needs. They are also very quick to respond to any Twitter Queries and public complaints. They have proved untrustworthy at times, and there have been some scandals involving dubious ingredients before, but I've always found them very responsive and helpful. There are some wonderful Woolies products that we buy aside from their amazing fresh fruit and vegetables, including Organic options which are often the same price as the alternative option.
This list will continue to grow, I am adding products as I purchase them because Woolworths won't let one take photos in the shop. I also apologise for low quality photographs - my phone doesn't have a great camera! I would like to state that I am not being endorsed by Woolworths South Africa in any way, and I receive no benefit financially, or otherwise as compensation for this blog post. This is a post that contains my personal opinions and that I have posted of my own volition as an aid to Vegans and potential Vegans who don't know what they can buy at Woolworths, or who wish for a little inspiration.
Woolworths Dairy Free Milk Alternatives
This section of the shop is where we spend most of our Woolworths money but absolutely no milk alternative has been able to come near the deliciousness of their Organic Rice Drink and Organic Soya Drink (Sweetened and Unsweetened - the latter of which we use for cooking - great in Bechamel and potato mash). It's expensive but it's one of our few regular indulgences. The other milk alternatives available at Woolworths are: Oat Drink, Chocolate Soya Drink, Sweetened Soya Drink and Unsweetened Soya Drink.
Most of the Woolworths dry pastas are Vegan and they usually say quite clearly that they contain egg should they do so. Woolies also has a whole range of Organic Pasta and Gluten Free Maize Pasta that is Vegan. Their fresh pastas all contain egg except for the Gnocchi which is absolutely wonderful for pre-packaged Gnocchi.
There are also Vegan two minute noodle packs for those of you who venture that way.
Woolworths have started making pre-cooked rice packs that you can keep in the pantry cupboard. There is a White Basmati microwave pack, a Quinoa & Brown Rice microwave pack as well as a Seven Grain Rice microwave pack.
There is a variety of grain type to choose from, lots of different rice packs, quinoa etc.
Woolworths have a great variety of different cereals of which many are Vegan. They stock both their house brand of cereal and Kellogg's cereal, among other imported speciality cereals. There is always a clear label on the house brand boxes denoting whether they are Vegan or not. Watch out for Honey, as Woolworths has several cereals that contain it.
Vegan Cereals at Woolworths are:
All Bran, Corn Flakes (Kellogg's and Woolworths House Brand), Special K (With Berries is also Vegan), Coco Pops, Rice Krispies, Coco Pops Crunchers, Wheat Free Regular Pronutro, Weetbix, Slimmer's Choice Baked Muesli, Slimmer's Choice Swiss Muesli, Slimmer's Choice Cranberry and Cherry Cereal, Special Choice, Special Choice with Berries, Bran Flakes, Wild Berry Baked Muesli, Puffed Rice and several other porridge options.
Woolworths have Mediterranean or Raisin, Sultana & Cranberry breakfast bars that are Vegan.
A lot of the bread at W is Vegan, and usually says that it is on the packaging, but always check for honey and even fish derivatives in their Omega enriched bread. They also put egg, milk and/or cheese in some of the breads so read the ingredients. The bread also freezes very well so I often stock up and then just defrost as I use it.
The Mini Chelsea Buns are Vegan! Whoop! Great to buy for a work breakfast. The 4 English Muffins are also Vegan.
Crackers & Biscuits
Olive Oil Bread Sticks, Rosemary Crackers, Salted Crackers, Multigrain Melba Toast, Poppy Seed Melba Toast, Plain Melba Toast, Classic Toast, Rosemary Crostini, Sea Salt Crostini, Wholegrain Rice & Sesame Crackers, Seaweed Flavour Rice Crackers, Cream Cheese & Chives Mini Rice Cakes, The Granarie Air Baked Mini Thins - Sour Cream & Chives Flavour, Oat & Sesame Rice Cakes, Plain Rice Cakes, Multigrain Rice Cakes, Organic Plain Unsalted Rice Cakes, Barbeque Mini Rice Cakes and Chutney Mini Rice Cakes.
Aside from your usual frozen peas there are some treats in the Woolies freezer! There is also a little Asian Marks & Spencer box in the freezer of Vegetarian Dim Sum of which all are Vegan. Expensive but fun if you feel like changing it up a little! There are also frozen fruits that are fabulous for a hot day or for baking berry laced confectionary.
Woolies also has some ice lollies and sorbet that is vegan. There is Mixed Berry Sorbet, Mango Sorbet and Granadilla Sorbet that are all Vegan.
All the Soup Mix Packs with the chopped fresh vegetables are Vegan as far as I have seen. They're fantastic - saves a whole lot of chopping and buying of lots of vegetables that you may not have time to consume before they expire. I always buy these in winter - they're lifesavers for a night when you get home from work late and it's freezing!
The pre packaged fresh soups have several Vegan options. There is a phenomenal Beetroot and Apple soup to look out for!
The tinned soups have no vegan options, nor do the instant soup packs. Make your own soup. It always tastes better and freezes so well.
Pre-Cooked Meals & Sauces
There is a delicious Roast Veg Cous Cous in a Tomato based sauce which is Vegan and delicious. There has been a noticeable decline in the availability of these pre cooked meals, however. There are also Vegan samoosas, amazing Vegan pizza bases that I listed under bread, hummus, marinated artichokes and olives, Vegan burger patties, beetroot and several other items that we could eat.
Vegan options in the Deli are:
Grilled Artichokes, Dolmades, Vegetable Samoosas, Bruschetta, Olive Duo and plain Hummus.
Some Cook In Sauces are Vegan: Cape Malay Curry Sauce, Sweet & Sour Oriental Sauce, Sticky & Pepper Sauce, Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Durban Curry Sauce. There are some new box pasta sauces of which only the Arrabbiata and the Tomato & Olive are Vegan. There are a few more Vegan pasta sauces in bottles.
Tinned and Dry Goods
The Maple Syrup and the Pancake Syrup are both Vegan. There's even an Organic Maple Syrup - yum! The Onion Marmalade is superb and Vegan. All the Woolworths Peanut Butters are Vegan, to my knowledge. The Wholegrain Mustard is Vegan, but some of the other mustards contain honey, so read the labels. All the chutney bottles I've checked are Vegan and so are many of the hot sauce bottles. Many of the Salad Dressings and Pre Mixed Vinaigrettes are also Vegan.
Curry pastes are also mostly Vegan: Korma Curry Paste, Vindaloo Curry Paste, Indian Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken Paste and Rogan Josh Paste are Vegan.
Asian Cooking Products
There are loads of wonderful, but pricey, Asian cooking products at Woolies including Tamari which I couldn't even find in Chinatown.
Mexican Cooking Products
Woolies has an incredible selection of Mexican Food paraphernalia - we live off those Tacos and their Guacamole when we're really busy and don't have much time to cook. Their Mexican spice packets are also great - I always buy the 'Chicken Fajita' one which is quite spicy, but delicious in our Veggie tacos or burritos. All their wraps are Vegan as far as I am aware, and I particularly like the one with Coriander in it. Pick 'n Pay sells Vegan Taco Shells if you want those.
Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate
The tea available at Woolworths is wonderful - their fruit teas are great and they don't bleach any of their house brand tea bags! They also stock Organic Tea which is fantastic! Keep your eye open for the Organic Honeybush tea - it's magnificent, but I haven't been able to find it for ages.
Buy their Dark Chocolate chips to use in warmed Organic Rice Milk for an absolutely amazing Hot Chocolate. Otherwise just buy the Chocolate Soya Milk and drink it hot - it's dreamy!
The baking section at W has many Vegan pre mixes for the lazy baker - like me. The following are Vegan:
Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding Mix
Vanilla Butter Cookie Mix
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Chocolate Brownie Mix
Chocolate Cake Mix
Vanilla Cake Mix
Basic Spiced Cake Mix
Chocolate Icing Mix
Sugar Cones by Hermes
The following may be Vegan, but I'm unsure of the origin of the colouring:
Heart Cake Sprinkles
Pretty in Pink Cake Decorations
Boys Toys Cake Decorations
Mini Cake Sprinkles
Flat Bottom Party Cones by Hermes
NB: The Nicoletta glitter pens are NOT Vegan. They contain E120 which is red colouring derived from an insect.
Birthday Candles: Woolworths does not state whether their birthday candles contain animal products or by-products. Until they confirm the ingredients, I'm not buying them.
Woolworths has a great selection of fresh fruit juices as well as boxed fruit juice that we regularly buy. They also stock BOS Ice Tea - the Apple and Peach flavours are fabulous! There is also alcohol free beer at Woolies, which I LOVE them for! So good to keep a six pack of those amazing beverages.
Woolworths stock many simultaneously palatable and affordable wines worth drinking with friends. Even their box wine varieties aren't half-bad. I buy the boxed white wine, drink a little and freeze the rest for cooking. You never know when you need a bottle of white wine for a Sunday Risotto! Woolworths also stocks Stellar Organics wine products about which I've posted previously.
Confectionary and Sweets
Woolworths has Vegan Miniature Chelsea Buns that are absolutely scrumptious! Warm them in the oven and eat at once! They keep well when frozen.
Woolworths Organic Dark Chocolate and Organic Orange Dark Chocolate are both Vegan.
The Dark Chocolate Almonds are Vegan! Delish! And so are the Dark Chocolate Cherry Liqueur Sweets and the Glace Ginger in Dark Chocolate.
Woolworths have Vegan Oreos. It's true. Read the ingredients.
Woolies have some sweets that are definitely vegan, as they don't contain gelatine. Some of these include strawberry liquorice, sour sqworms (or something like that), 'jelly' Fruit sweets and a few of the low calorie bars are also vegan.
There are a whole lot of Vegan crisps and popcorn packets at W, even the Sour Cream & Spring Onion chips are Vegan! It's definitely worth picking up EVERY packet and reading the ingredients as you may be pleasantly surprised!
I will add more products as soon as I go shopping again! Keep checking this page!