The marketing and labelling of new products are notoriously tricky areas to get right. Balancing brand aesthetic and visual appeal against vital consumer information and legal requirements – in ways which please both loyal and new customers – can be a minefield. Further complexities arise when trying to communicate not only what the product does contain, but also what it does not contain.
In recent years we have seen consumers demanding more transparency from all industries about various issues including animal testing, ingredient sourcing, and manufacturing processes. Consumers want more clarity behind their purchasing decisions, but they also want convenience. Hence, quickly relaying information through independent registration schemes is an effective way to gain consumer confidence via trusted, external credentials.
For nearly every moral cause a consumer may have, there is likely to be an organisation who is working hard to promote it. Leading third-party verification schemes cover issues such as organic produce, recycled materials, and being carbon neutral. At the Vegan Society, our primary cause is to reduce animal suffering, and the Vegan Trademark helps to do just that.
This year marks 30 years since our trademark began setting the vegan standard for thousands of products around the world. As an organisation, we know the value this brings to both our clients and their customers through testimonials and positive feedback. To better understand wider audiences, we conducted research looking at the consumer value of vegan verification schemes, with very favorable results.
Our audience consisted of 1,000 individuals who were most likely to purchase vegan products, which we considered those self-identifying as either vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, or flexitarian. In this instance, we separated vegan and plant-based as dietary categories as we wanted to see if there were any key differences between the two.
We asked our respondents if they seek vegan verification logos on the following product categories when purchasing them for the first time: fashion and textiles, healthcare; cosmetics and body care, household goods (e.g. cleaning products) and food and drink.
As we predicted, within every category, it was found that an overwhelming majority of respondents actively seek out vegan verification logos (over 80% across all five categories) when shopping for new products.
The category with the highest overall percentage was food and drink, with over 95% of respondents looking for vegan verification. This figure rises even higher to 99% for vegan and plant-based consumers, and 98% for vegetarians. It is perhaps unsurprising that food and drink come out on top, as many of us purchase these products every day and new vegan food launches are often a topic for conversation. In fact, in 2019 nearly a quarter of food products launched in the UK were labelled as vegan!
Cosmetics and body care followed just behind, with over 90% of respondents looking for vegan verification. Again, this figure rises for vegan and plant-based consumers with figures at 98% and 97% respectively. In 2019 there were over 40,000 products registered with the Vegan Trademark and of these, over 17,000 were cosmetics and toiletries. It is clear to see that this industry is serious about producing great products that also promote animal rights. Considering how important this also is for the consumer, we view it as a win-win situation.
The credentials for vegan fashion and textiles are also of increasing importance. In our survey, we found that 83% of respondents seek vegan verification for these products, with an increase to 96% for vegan consumers. Vegan leather has long been of interest within the fashion industry, but there are many other factors to consider such as adhesives and metal treatments, which may use materials from animal sources. In 2019 New Look registered the vast majority of their shoes and accessories with the Vegan Trademark, showing the high street that affordable vegan fashion is the way forward.
For updates on product launches, competitions, and plenty more, you can follow @vegantrademark on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also show your support by sharing your favourite Vegan Trademark registered products on social media using our anniversary hashtag: #30yearsofvegan.
Finally, if you are interested in learning more about the Vegan Trademark, you can find more information here.
Survey conducted online through consumer growth platform Attest in February 2020.
By Vegan Society Insight and Commercial Policy Officer, Louisianna Waring