Food & Nutrition

Waitrose Essential baked beans are a vegan bodybuilder’s dream

Published by Finn Hayden

waitrose baked beans

I've been following a (mostly) vegan diet recently, and one of the things I've found the hardest about this kind of diet is getting enough protein into my system each day to keep up with my gym work. I've found it difficult to hit my protein intake targets with just food alone, which has led me to supplement using vegan protein powders (on a side note, I feel sooo much better after a vegan protein shake than a whey protein shake).


Despite my struggles, there are actually lots of excellent vegan sources of protein out there, with legumes such as beans being pretty near the top of the list in terms of protein per 100g. This is lucky for me because I love beans, especially baked beans. Always have done.


On a recent trip to Waitrose (I was looking for some fancy beer), I remembered that I'd recently finished my last can of baked beans, and I needed to stock up. I grabbed a few cans and didn't think about them again until my next meal involving baked beans. As the beans were warming up in the microwave, I took a glance at the back of the can. I did a double-take. "Wait, these baked beans contain 33g of protein per can? That's loads, isn't it??". I opened up my laptop and double checked the nutritional information on the Waitrose website. Yep, these baked beans contain 16.4g of protein per half a can!


To put that into perspective, I couldn't find any other supermarket own-brand baked beans that contain more than 20g of protein per can.


To save you the online searches, here are the stats of some supermarket own-brand baked beans and the amount of protein they contain per can:


Tesco - 18.6g
Sainsbury's - 18.4g
Lidl - 19.3g
Morrisons - 17.6g
ASDA - 20g
Lidl beans vs Waitrose beans
And before you think that the branded baked beans might be any better, let me save you the bother of searching again:


Heinz - 19.9g
Branston - 18.8g


Also, strangely, the more expensive baked beans from Waitrose don't have the higher protein content like the Essential baked beans do. The fancier 'Duchy Organic' baked beans from Waitrose contain 19.4g of protein per can.


I've gone deep on this. DEEP.


The big question here is, why? What is so special about the Essential Waitrose baked beans? I looked for clues on the product page, but couldn't find anything unusual in the ingredients. I messaged the customer service team at Waitrose and got this response:
concern Waitrose baked beans

This just made me laugh, the idea that I'm "concerned" about the high protein content of the baked beans. I'm not concerned, I'm absolutely buzzing!!

Let's take a look at the really interesting part of their response:

FireShot Capture 025 - RE_ Waitrose baked beans [ ref_!00D200laeb.!5003X030Gudv_ref ] - finn_ -

It all seems to point to the fact that the high protein content of these baked beans is something to do with where the beans are grown and in what season they're grown. Very interesting!

So if you're like me - following a vegan diet and trying to up your protein intake - you should seriously consider switching your normal baked beans for Waitrose baked beans. That extra 13g of protein per meal involving baked beans could add up to a lot more protein in your diet over the course of a month. Now please excuse me, I must continue my search for high protein baked beans.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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