Think you can spot a vegan? Think again.
Vegans. Hippies. Nothing in common with me, right? That’s how I used to perceive a person who does not eat or use animal products.
Fast forward to 2017 and the results of a new study published by Vegan Life Magazine and The Vegan Society show that Veganism is booming. Veganism has increased by 350% in the last ten years in the UK, with 542,000 vegans in the UK alone.
As a researcher, I am more aware of how our clients and brands are helping even people like me to opt for a vegan choice if I’m looking for one. This isn’t just about food – health, beauty and fashion are all at it. As a nation, we are looking to expand our tastes and try new things. Norms are changing.
1. Plant power has found it's efficacy and it tastes pretty good
Dairy products can now be replaced by a variety of plant based alternatives. Soya, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and oat milk are widely available. Even at Aldi.
You are no longer considered fussy, just ‘eating what you like’ or catering to your dietary requirements that are widely accepted by our peers
2. Eating and drinking vegan on the go got easier
This is about the person in front in the Starbucks queue asking for ‘a tall, soy latte with just one shot please’. From Starbucks to Veggie Pret the food industry has opened up ‘on the go’ to animal free options. Labelling has improved too. Now on front of pack with easily recognisable logos. Simple.
3. Mass and prestige beauty brands are evolving
Original Source may have been ahead of the pack in bathing but other categories are catching up, fast. Some of our most beloved brands in mass market and premium cosmetics and skincare are going vegan (alongside the specialists of course).
Brands such as Nars, Bare Minerals, Kat Von Dee and Neals Yard represent the premium end whereas Barry M, NYX and Yes Too represent mass market. All can be found on pretty much every high street in the UK. There is no longer the need to frantically search the PETA website for approval.
Where is this increase in veganism coming from?
We know that the growth in veganism is being driven by young people. In a recent survey by the Guardian just under half (44%) of vegans in the UK are aged 15-34. In recent years through our own research, we’ve seen this age group express concerns over sustainability, caring for the environment and animal welfare. For them, it fits their values and it’s a lifestyle, not a fad.
We believe that this growth is driven by easy access to information online about veganism.
Alongside the practicalities of being vegan, we can now share, follow, be inspired and learn about veganism at the touch of a button. Social media inspires and encourages society to share experiences.
As veganism is now an easier lifestyle choice that has become more accepted in our society there is a clear role for brands across food, beauty and health to cater to these needs. Not all shoppers buying into vegan products will follow a full vegan lifestyle – or even know much about it – they may just like its taste or feel.
In summary? It’s a trend that is here to stay. For brands, this means that it is worth investing – with veganism, we believe the time is now. Go forth and innovate!
By Becki Jarvis