Exeter’s best shops for plant-based living
Evie Marshall discusses the best shops in Exeter for those who want to maintain a plant-based lifestyle
Exploring veganism means rethinking many of our habits and behaviours. Where we shop and what we buy is a big part of that. Supermarkets are now very accommodating to the plant-based diet. You can get everything you need from Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, or Sainsbury’s…
However, there is something empowering and joyful about supporting small independent businesses, which contribute to the vibrancy and culture of the city.
With the end of lockdown approaching and the gradual easing of restrictions, embracing city life will be on most of our minds. For the vegan-curious, or anyone, really, here are some essential spots you should explore to enhance your city experience.
1. How on Earth Deli– Where? South Street
This unique deli provides vegans and the vegan-curious with a slice of city culture often less available to them. It is 100% plant-based, including a cheese and meat counter serving fresh deli sandwiches/wraps for on the go.
It has its name for a reason. The traditional classics of chicken & bacon, rueben, chorizo, and fried chicken, will have you astounded. All the meat substitutes are the deli’s original recipe, and you can also buy a variety of home-made, artisanal vegan cheeses like smoked cashew or cheddar.
2. The Lin Den– Where? North Street
Café culture is huge in cities. With this 100% vegan patisserie, you can embrace it with zero compromises. All the coffees, cakes, sarnies, and pastries are entirely plant-based! Cutting out meat and dairy is often associated with sacrifice, but the Lin Den makes this a thing of the past.
A favourite combo of mine is a cappuccino and cinnamon swirl. Whether you’re catching up with a friend or have some work to do or a book you’re really into, I can’t think of a nicer place to treat yourself and pass some time.
Both championing exotic cuisine, Pho is a Vietnamese restaurant and Turtle Bay is a Caribbean bar/diner. These places are not only in close proximity but both have great vegan menus. Like me, if you’re a sucker for Chinese takeaway or tropical cocktails, you’ll love these. They prove that being vegan does not require a sacrifice of the foods and nights in/out that we love most.
These are two of my favourite grocery stores. They sell fruit and veg in the best possible way: high quality, huge variety, cheap, and no plastic packaging! For these reasons, I always buy my fresh produce from these stores
4. Holland and Barrett– Where? the Hight Street and Princesshay shopping centre
Not a small independent business, but as one of the nation’s most successful health food shops, is like a supermarket for the health and environmentally conscious. Great for meat, egg, and dairy substitutes, as well as multivitamins and (relatively) healthy treats. It’s a little more expensive than an average supermarket, but it has everything you need for a wholesome plant-based diet and lifestyle.
5. Veg Box– Where? The Quay
This awesome outlet will give your day out that something extra. For both dine-in and takeaway, you can find vegan pasties and sandwiches, hot drinks, and cakes to compliment time with a friend or date.
6. The Real Food Store– Where? Central Station Buildings
A zero-waste shop selling primarily organic food, but also sustainable/natural toiletries. A little more expensive, but there’s something so satisfying about taking your lentils, oats, and rice home in brown paper bags, and not having to free your fruit and veg from layers of unnecessary plastic packaging, either.
This shop is also great for speciality foods e.g., non-wheat pastas, tofu and vegan cheeses, freshly baked bread, and so much more! Definitely worth checking out. I could not go back to a regular supermarket after acclimatizing to this wholesome way of grocery shopping.
7. Herbies– Where? North Street
Open for lunch and dinner service, Herbies is lovely restaurant practically neighbours with the Lin Den! It is 100% vegetarian, mostly vegan, and gives that fine-dining feel. The ambience of Herbie’s makes it a great place to enjoy quality food and quality time with friends.
They have something for everyone, including lasagnes, sharing platters, nachos, buddha bowls, burgers, salads, soups, and wraps. Not to mention their delicious desserts, for which they have vegan custard, cream, and yogurt.
8. Zero– Where? Fore Street
Another awesome zero-waste store, and this one does home food deliveries! Such lovely staff and ambience. ‘Zero’ stocks wholesome food, but has a wider selection of non-food items e.g., personal care, lifestyle products household, and décor.
9. Charity Shops
A big reason people go vegan is that they are environmentally aware. The lifestyle is not just about food, but consuming in ways that are aligned with our values. Charity shops allow us to recycle our clothes, which is so important in a growing culture of environmentally damaging fast fashion. It’s more sustainable to buy second hand, as well as helping you to create a unique and durable wardrobe. The same applies to vintage cloth stores, too.
Donating non-vegan clothing (like leather and suede) means people can purchase such items in charity shops, reducing the demand for new material to be made.
Some of my favourite go-to’s are the RSPCA and Oxfam charity shops. Some amazing second-hand book shops include Book Cycle, the Oxfam bookshop, and Hospicare book shop.