How brands move the needle on the vegan lifestyle
Plant-based eating has evolved into a global movement that combines dietary habits with the wellbeing of our planet. Explore how brands across various industries support this vegan lifestyle.
Sarah Van Oerle
25 January 2024
5 min read
Did you participate in ‘Veganuary’ this year? For those who have no clue what we’re talking about, ‘Veganuary’ is a charity that inspires people to adopt a vegan diet in January and extend it throughout the year. With influential ambassadors like Joaquin Phoenix and Billie Eilish alongside numerous free resources such as cookbooks and meal plans, Veganuary supports people in embracing a vegan lifestyle. In 2023, participants from 228 countries joined in and more than 1,610 new vegan products and menus got launched on the back of the initiative. By choosing a plant-based diet, people aim to make a positive change in the world. This is something they also expect brands to do – with 85% of people globally stating that brands need to take responsibility to help safeguard the future of our planet*. Discover here how brands – even beyond food – are making positive change by facilitating the vegan lifestyle.
A diet for a better world
From a niche dietary choice, plant-based eating has evolved into a global movement that combines dietary habits with the wellbeing of our planet. We also saw this in our 2024 What Matters study, where 17% of people globally indicate they follow a plant-based diet to live a more sustainable lifestyle*. While the impact on the environment is a significant motivator for adopting a vegan lifestyle, other concerns such as animal welfare and health also play a role – especially given the increasing amount of research highlighting the health benefits of a vegan diet. For instance, research on identical twins by Stanford Medicine researchers shows that a vegan diet improves cardiovascular health in as little as eight weeks. In addition to health benefits, cost-of-living might be a driver for embracing a plant-based diet. While affordability is commonly perceived as a hurdle, research indicates that food costs actually decrease for those on a plant-based diet. Taste and convenience remain potential barriers, hindering some from making the shift to plant-based eating. Here, brands hold a crucial role in breaking down any (perceived) barriers and making the transition more accessible.
How brands help to move the needle
A brand that seamlessly combines veganism with convenience is Lazy Vegan, as encapsulated in their tagline: ‘Chilling is the new activism’. Lazy Vegan specializes in frozen, ready-to-eat meals made from 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. The ‘chill attitude’ of the brand is also reflected in how they set realistic expectations regarding reducing meat consumption, stating that “if every person opted for plant-based food a little more often, we could make a big positive impact together”. By making it extremely easy to choose vegan, whether it’s everyday or just occasionally, Lazy Vegan breaks down any barriers people might have. The excuse of ‘I’m too busy’ is simply no longer valid.
Not only niche brands are active in the vegan space. The international plant-based milk brand Alpro pioneered in this field more than 40 years ago. Despite the numerous alternatives launched in the market since, the brand remains popular. With its subtle taste, Alpro’s products don’t interfere with the flavour of people’s tea, coffee or cereal, eliminating any barrier or worries around taste.
While mainstream supermarkets expand their plant-based offerings, such as Tesco with its range of prepared meals, the choices available are still somewhat limited. This is where specialized vegan supermarkets step in. Take, for example Vegan Supermarket, an online retailer dedicated to making meat-free living the new normal. From meat alternatives to vegan wines, sweet treats and plant-based fish options, this supermarket simplifies the vegan shopping experience. The brand helps consumers in comparing prices and even goes the extra mile by offering subscription boxes. These allow people to explore new vegan brands and products in a hassle-free manner.
And while it may seem that the global shift towards a plant-based lifestyle primarily affects brands in the food industry, think again. The example of Vegan Supermarket’s subscription boxes illustrates that the ‘vegan vibe’ extends beyond food. Let’s consider the beauty industry. Consumers that want to make conscious beauty choices, often seek brands that are both cruelty-free (not tested on animals) and vegan (free from animal-derived ingredients). Singapore-based brand OASIS, for example, crafts handmade, plant-based products that are gentle on the skin. In a commitment to the environment, Oasis encourages customers to refill their product packaging to reduce single-use waste. In doing so, the brand empowers consumers to make sustainable choices without compromising on quality or experience.
Another industry where vegan becomes more prominent is fashion. The founders of fashion brand Immaculate Vegan believe “you can look good, feel good and do good”. The fashion collection they curate comprises 100% vegan items crafted from innovative and sustainable materials like bamboo, Tencel, and PVC-free plant-based leathers. Immaculate Vegan takes on the responsibility of sifting through the fashion landscape to bring consumers the utmost convenience by offering the most ethical, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing labels on the planet.
Of course, our four-legged friends can’t be left behind. THE PACK is a dog food brand with a mission to demonstrate that dogs can not only survive but thrive on plant-based nutrition. Mindful of the environmental impact associated with traditional pet food production, the founders aimed to create a dog food that is not only beneficial for the animal, but also better for the planet. On their website, they even feature an article on how to include your dog in Veganuary 2024, showcasing their commitment to responsible and sustainable pet care.
Many brands are active in the vegan space to contribute to a better future. Curious how your brand can create positive change? Download our 2024 What Matters report where we share 8 themes that highlight what matters in 2024 and beyond to get inspired on how you can take action.
* The numbers in this article are based on 17 markets: AR, AU, BR, CL, CN, CO, DE, FR, HK, MX, PH, SG, TH, UAE, UK, US and ZA
What Matters 2024
The 2024 edition of our What Matters report has arrived. The report takes a clear stance for change driven by a call for urgency, as new research reports 8 out 10 people worldwide are worried about the future and feel brands need to take responsibility.