The Spin Off Ranks Vegan Sausages

Cutting beyond meat sausages

First published March 19, 2021

The Spin Off

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For a long time, vegetarian sausages were objectively bad. I, for one, am still scarred by the tasteless tubes forced upon me at barbecues as a vegetarian tween in the late 90s. Much time has passed since then, however, and an alternative protein revolution is upon us. Technology has advanced, allowing scientists to isolate the protein in a range of plants and create products with a more “realistic” (as in meat-sausage-like) texture, attracting more omnivores to dip their toes in the plant-based world.

Our contributor Amanda Thompson is one of those omnivores, keen to eat less meat for the good of the planet. So she tried a range of vegetarian sausages from her local supermarket, and was largely unimpressed. Some readers thought Amanda didn’t give vego sausies a fair go – she sampled only a handful, and is usually a meat eater, which some believed clouded her view.

So here at Spinoff HQ, we decided to do a more comprehensive tasting, with a panel comprising tasters of all different dietary persuasions – vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians and yes, a couple of full-blown omnivores. (For what it’s worth, our results were largely in line with Amanda’s – though we couldn’t find the elusive Tofurky Beer Brat, so that went untasted.) 

The taste test was kindly hosted by the aptly named Kind Cafe, a very good and mostly vegan joint that happens to be right next door to The Spinoff office in Morningside, Auckland. Most of the 22 sausages we tried were sent in for free by the companies that make them; some we bought. We tasted only sausages that are available nationwide, either at a retail store or online. All were cooked in the Kind kitchen and tasted blind with no condiments or accompaniments allowed (yes, it was rough, but necessary). 

The tasting panel consisted of Spinoffers Alice Neville, Catherine McGregor, Alice Webb-Liddall, Stewart Sowman-Lund, Calum Henderson, Natalie Wilson and Matthew McAuley, plus Kind’s manager, Cathie Cottle. We gave each saus a score out of 10, which we then averaged out to get the overall mark. Our top 10 are presented below. We’re not naming the sausages we weren’t so keen on, but have included some of our less flattering comments for your enjoyment.

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