The Vegan Society, the oldest vegan organisation in the world, began all the way back in 1944 in the UK, by our movement’s founding father Donald Watson. The charity continues to do great work throughout the industry.
The society’s Vegan Trademark recently registered its 50,000th product – the highest number of registered products since the trademark was created in 1990, as interest in veganism continues to thrive across the globe.
We spoke with Ericka Durgahee, The Vegan Society’s Business Development Marketing Manager, about 2021 and her thoughts looking ahead to 2022.
What were the highlights of 2021?
Our biggest highlight has been seeing more and more of the largest companies in the world transition to adopting a vegan option or turning their ranges vegan since working with us. It really shows that customers are demanding alternatives if they’re willing to supply them. Some amazing examples include The Body Shop committing to a 100% vegan product line-up by 2023 after launching a number of products carrying the Vegan Trademark this year, Burger King launching solely plant-based restaurants, Wagamama’s promising a 50% plant-based menu and large supermarkets committing to having their own brand products verified with us (like Asda, Rossmann and Aldi!).
Aside from this, the Vegan Trademark runs because we grow with small businesses, and we’ve seen literally hundreds of new companies talk to us about their amazing new product options within the vegan market.
The Vegan Trademark saw some first-time products register this year too, alongside the usual food, drink, cosmetics, toiletries, haircare, fashion and homewares industries working with us, we registered our first dog bed, musical instrument and nappies amongst many other amazing new product launches.
We asked the public what they thought about vegan labelling, since there’s no legal definition and over 75% thought that third party verification was important for vegan products!
Which milestones can your company reflect upon throughout the last year?
The Vegan Trademark not only hit 50,000 products registered in March of this year, but we then hit a second milestone of 55,000 products verified as vegan back in September too! This is an enormous set of milestones for us, it not only makes us the oldest and most robust vegan labelling scheme available globally, it also makes us the largest. So far this year we’ve registered more than 15,000 new products, showing that veganism continues to have traction in the marketplace!
On social media, we had over a 6.7million impressions between January and November this year, which is a huge milestone for us, given we’re a small charity-run service provider.
We did some incredible research this year, publishing our reports on the COVID vaccine amongst vegans, the vegan beauty takeover report, summer BBQ alternatives, the egg alternative opinion survey, the vegan fashion takeover report, and our annual review of the Vegan Trademark.
Where can interested parties meet the company in person in 2022? (Trade fairs/events)
We haven’t completely finished our planning for 2022 events, but we will be going to (which you can stay up to date on here) shows like Just V (Glasgow in March, London in July and Birmingham in November), The International Food & Drink Event in March, the Natural & Organic Products Europe show and In-Cosmetics in April. We have lots planned at the events, so please drop by and say hello to one of our team if you want to catch up in person.
What are the plans for 2022?
The strategic goal for The Vegan Society is to help make veganism mainstream. The Vegan Trademark is a big part of this goal, because being able to quickly identify vegan products (knowing we’ve done the hard work for you on verifying the product claim) is a big step towards accessibility and ease for going, but also staying, vegan. With this in mind, we’ll be shouting from the rooftops all about our wonderful Vegan Trademark holders, sharing their exciting new product launches, or expansions and finding as many ways as possible to help drive veganism into the mainstream.
What kind of challenges lie ahead in 2022?
The challenge for 2022 will be supporting those who carry the Vegan Trademark to gain access to their target market. We know how busy the market is right now, with planned growth of sales gaining by the billion year on year, and everyone wants a piece of the action. That said, we also know that so long as people know about the products they want, they’ll snap them up.
The earlier a company starts talking to us when they’re planning to launch a vegan range or products the better. Not only can we help large businesses understand their supply chains better and reduce overall costs (hopefully by convincing them to swap to a solely vegan supply chain!), but we also provide advice from the experts in veganism here at The Vegan Society that can help any business understand more about this ever-growing audience and how best to talk to them.
Will you accept the challenge?