This is Why Most Companies Should Hire a Chief Vegan Officer

Young woman presenting her idea to colleagues
© Jacob Lund - stock.adobe.com

Vegan burgers at McDonald’s – supplied by Nestlé, vegan Magnum ice cream, Volkswagen and Škoda with vegan leather seats… by now every company leader and top manager should be aware that the vegan lifestyle has arrived in the mass market and is already the norm for millions of consumers.

The vegan lifestyle is supported by many celebrities, well-known personalities and athletes, such as Hollywood star Leonardo di Caprio, Bill Gates, James Cameron, Richard Branson, Greta Thunberg or Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who reach billions of followers via social media and bring awareness to the topic of veganism.

This development has consequences for many industries: food, health, fashion, beauty, interior design, cars, tourism, cleaning agents, detergents, body care. Those who ignore the vegan market miss out on growth opportunities, risk losing sales or even run the risk of vanishing completely from the market.

The target group: young, well-educated women with above-average incomes

The vegan market is mainly driven by young, well-educated women with above-average incomes. These women will in many households determine the shopping list, where to travel and how, which car to buy. Also tens of millions of flexitarians who are increasingly turning to vegan products for ethical, health, ecological or animal welfare reasons.

Particularly for the vegan target group, companies must be authentic

This target groups is very critical and prefers to buy products from companies that have internalized the vegan lifestyle. And this is where the problem begins for many companies. They may have an expert for CSR or for organic products. However, the companies often have no or only minor knowledge of how vegans think, how they can be reached, what is important to them and what authentic wordings they need to be addressed with. Because there are no vegans in a company or anyone associated with the vegan community, it is often very difficult to develop a strategy for this market and attractive vegan products and to address the target group correctly. Many examples show that large investments have been ruined due to a lack of knowledge of the vegan market – companies can often be dismissed in terms of greenwashing. In such cases, it can cost a lot of money to correct a poorly prepared vegan market launch afterwards. In addition, many companies have a traditionally non-vegan image that makes consumers skeptical.

Success with vegan expertise

To be successful in the vegan market, companies need experts who actually understand this market, live in it, and can cautiously clear up the prejudices that still exist in many companies. At the same time, however, he/she should have the skills in business administration, production, marketing, team leadership and sales, and preferably years of experience on the international stage. In short, you need a chief vegan officer who implements the transformation to a vegan-friendly company at all levels.

However, these chief vegan officers expect a business environment that gives them the power they need to meet the challenge. With well-paid positions alone, this “species” cannot be lured. Therefore the entry into a vegan market should also be supported by the management at board or C-level. Ideally, this step will lead to a cultural change, which will clear up the prejudices against vegans that many employees may still have in their heads. Communication and persuasion are required here. Half-hearted implementations do not meet the requirements.

vegconomist advises companies which want to enter the vegan market or expand their current business. Every day we at vegconomist analyze several hundred vegan news items from all world and have an outstanding overview of the global scene. For further information, contact CEO and editor-in-chief Peter Link: [email protected]

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