Life is busy, and most of us are often short on time. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a chore. Here, we break down the best plant-based shopping strategies to show you different ways to shop and some of the best finds at each store. Couple that with a little planning, our handy grocery list printables, and time-saving meal planning printables, you will always be organized and prepared!

Once you figure out what you’re looking for, you no longer even have to go to your local store to do your shopping. From your neighborhood grocery store to your local Walmart Superstore and even your warehouse club, you can shop in-store or order online and then either pick it up or have it delivered. With these plant-based shopping strategies and a little pre-work figuring out those basic pieces, you can load up on all the plant-based groceries you need in just minutes.

The Plant-Based Revolution is Here

Grocery stores are bursting with options, but navigating all those aisles can be tricky. We’ll break down some PLANT-BASED SHOPPING STRATEGIES, from different store types, highlights of our favorite plant-based finds at each, and offer tips to make shopping a breeze. Remember, every store is unique, but our general guidelines will work wonders no matter your location.

Smart Plant-Based Shopping Strategies to Make Informed Choices

Whether you choose to shop at one store or more, once you know what each has to offer, you can easily compare products and shop prices. Check out some options and then take a look at your nearby stores and online grocers to find the best fit for you! Having a strategy for plant-based shopping at multiple stores is not necessary but it helps add variety to your plant-based swaps—many stores carry different items, unlike traditional foods.

Plant-Based Shopping Options for Your Personalized Grocery Experience

Discover the five main avenues for your plant-based shopping experience, each with its own unique offerings. From store size and item selection to various brands and convenience services like pick-up or delivery, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Let’s delve into the possibilities:

1. Your Local Supermarket (like Albertsons, Kroger, etc.)

Found in your local neighborhood, this is old-school shopping at its best. Many of these retailers have even upped their game to compete with online stores, so you can order online and then pick it up or have it delivered. Shopping at your local grocery store is probably familiar to you, and they carry a wide selection of brands and most items you need.

What We Typically Shop For Here:

  • Miscellaneous produce (based on freshness, immediate need, and sales)
  • Last-minute items
  • Certain plant-based perishable items


Once you know what your local store carries, in many cases you can order online for a free pickup at the store. And if you are short on time, services like Instacart and Shipt let a personal shopper go to your local store and shop for you. Fees are added, and tips are recommended, but if you have the budget for these conveniences, they can be worth it.

2. Local Smaller Market (like Trader Joe’s & Aldi)

These stores offer great prices and unique foods along with smaller packages and their custom brand. These are great places to shop, look around, try new foods, and experience new flavors. With the smaller store footprint, you can do your weekly shopping in much less time. Both offer a decent selection of plant-based items, but if you don’t care for a particular item, you don’t have another choice.

What We Typically Shop For at Trader Joe’s:

Kale pesto, vegan feta, English muffins (that are “accidentally vegan”), tortillas, artichoke cans, boxed soup, jackfruit in brine, vegan refried black beans, lentils, vegan dressings, nutritional yeast, tahini, vegan chicken nuggets, vegan Mandarin chicken, frozen potato with peppers & onions, frozen vegetable fried rice, tempura cauliflower.

3. Nearby Superstore (like Walmart Supercenter and Target Superstore)

While a nearby superstore might be a little further than your local market and have a larger footprint to shop, you can find some great prices and a very large selection of plant-based items. These stores offer great low prices and don’t charge a service fee or an upcharge to use its grocery pick-up service. Simply order online, set your pick-up time, pull up, and they load your car.

While both stores are similar in that regard, I have found a larger selection of plant-based foods at Walmart with lower everyday prices as well. We started using the Walmart order online and pick-up for free service in 2019 and continue to use it today. We think it gives the best bang for your buck and carries a wide variety of plant-based items, with more and more each day.

Where Walmart really propels ahead in this category of store is the Walmart+ membership.  For those who prefer delivery, Walmart+ is a no-brainer.  Here are a few amazing perks as a Walmart+ member for only $98 per year:

  • Free delivery on orders over $35. 
  • Free delivery to your doorstep, inside your garage, or even neatly put away in your kitchen (ok, that is amazing and crazy at the same time!).
  • All-in pricing.  The price you pay is the same as if you walk the stores. Your membership means that you don’t pay any kind of per-delivery fee* (no matter how many times a week you order)
  • Free in-home returns. No printing, no repackaging, no need to leave your home.
  • If you need a few more perks, like delivery inside your garage or even neatly put away in your kitchen (yes, that is a real thing!) or the elimination of the extra “tip” to your driver, consider the all-inclusive “Walmart+ In Home” membership for only $40 more.

Our Walmart Storefront:

One more reason we love Walmart?  We have partnered with Walmart to create a curated selection of plant-based items and more where we feature our favorite home-tested store-bought plant-based items and kits of items for recipes in our WALMART STOREFRONT. These recommended items are tested in our home and only featured if we think that they pass a universal taste test.  With so much variation in plant-based foods, we do not partner with any brands, ensuring that we remain impartial in our recommendations. Please note, this storefront is an affiliate, meaning we may earn a very small commission from the items that you purchase through it, but you will never pay more. This helps support our efforts in bringing you the best plant-based shopping strategies.

What We Typically Shop For Here:

Some produce (shredded carrots, cucumbers, radishes, celery, onions, spaghetti squash, bananas, cabbage, lemons & limes), sliced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan cereal, oats, raisins, coffee, vegetable broth, buns/bread, non-dairy milk, hummus, Tofurky sausage, Violife cheese, Just Egg, frozen Gardein products (ground crumbles, chicken strips, turkey cutlets, etc.), Morningstar veggie crumbles, a wide variety of non-dairy ice cream and ice cream novelties.

4. Wholesale Retail Clubs (like Costco & Sam’s Club)

These types of stores offer competitively low prices, bulk products, and a no-frills shopping experience. You can find some great products at bulk quantity low prices. You can find everything from nuts to tires and everything in between. If you have a few people in your household and space to store items in bulk, we highly recommend a membership because you can usually save overall.  We shop at a wholesale retail club every 3 weeks to a month and come home with a trunk full of fresh and bulk items we can backstock and store for every rainy day.

What We Typically Shop For Here:

Fresh organic produce (apples, fruit, grape tomatoes, potatoes, brussels sprouts, asparagus, baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, lettuce), tofu, frozen mixed berries/blueberries/mangoes, frozen mixed veggies/peas, frozen stir-fry veggies, vegan cereal, vegetable broth, seeds (pumpkin, hemp, chia, flax), pasta sauce, quinoa, beans (kidney, black, garbanzo), nuts (pistachios, cashews).

A Minor Downside:

You really do have to shop in bulk, so storage and rotation is something to consider. Additionally, some items like vegetable broth and kidney beans are considered seasonal, so we often have to shop for them elsewhere. We don’t quite understand why kidney beans are seasonal (🤯), but accepting that little quirk is essential.

5. Solely Online Retailers (Thrive Market & Boxed)

Among the last plant-based shopping strategies for a personalized experience is a universal one. By choosing an online retailer, you are not bound by location and can find just about everything for your pantry. You can tailor your shopping experience to the different specialties of each online retailer, each offering some unique benefits. You will still need to incorporate fresh and refrigerated food shopping but this can take shopping for some of the basics off your plate.

Plant-Based Strategies & Tips to Get Started

1. Decide Where to Shop: The first of our plant-based shopping strategies is to identify the stores where you will shop. Then explore our list of staples and essentials and find a couple of easy plant-based recipes to prepare.

2. Utilize Printables to Keep You Organized: From MEAL PLANNING PRINTABLES to GROCERY LIST PRINTABLES, these tools can keep you on top of your shopping game. They help you plan your meals for the week, ensure you have all the ingredients you need, and prevent unnecessary purchases. With organized lists and meal plans, you can streamline your shopping trips, save time, and stick to your budget.

3. Walk the Stores:  Go old school and walk the stores to get a feel for plant-based items offered and their locations within the store. Plant-based items can be found in the produce section (tofu & dumplings), refrigerated (either separated or combined with non-plant-based items like cream cheese & yogurt), frozen (usually a separate section of mock meats), and mixed in with dry good staples in the middle of the store. Spend a little time looking around because each store is different.

4. Talk to Your Grocer:  Don’t be afraid to talk to your grocer. If you are looking for something in particular, ask if they could find and stock an item. You never know, and they really do like to engage with their customers, so it’s worth a try!

Making plant-based shopping easier and more affordable is all about knowing your options and planning ahead. By understanding what each type of store offers and leveraging both in-store and online shopping opportunities, you can efficiently gather a variety of plant-based items without hassle. Whether you prefer the familiarity of your local supermarket, the unique selections at smaller markets, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of superstores like Walmart, the bulk savings at wholesale clubs, or the specialized products from online retailers, there’s a strategy for everyone. With our curated lists, meal-planning printables, and impartial recommendations, you can confidently navigate the plant-based landscape and make your grocery shopping a breeze. Happy shopping!