The great vegan diet ‘con’

Canola oil, yeast, acidity regulator, methyl­cellulose, corn oil thickener, starch, gelling agent. “Hmm, I don’t like agents in my food,” says Jayne Buxton.

We’re in the refrigerator aisle of a well-known, high-end health-food supermarket in Richmond, London, reading the backs of packets of vegan ­sausages, burgers et al. As far as vegan products go, we’re dining at the Ritz.

Pastrami-style slices, scrambled tofu, vegan chorizo slices, jackfruit rendang, a canister of No-Egg Egg for £4.99. “That’s more than a carton of eggs,” says Buxton as she scans the ingredients. Gum cellulose dextrose, “That’s sugar. Do you want sugar with your eggs?”

You would expect the quality here to be better than anywhere else, but nutritionally, says Buxton, it’s a wasteland of chemicals and oils where nutritious protein should be.