Vegan products from non vegan companies – hit or miss?

Hi everyone

The vegan market is growing massively, its got to the point now where I barely have to check restaurant menus as I know they will have a vegan option. The supermarket nearly all have an own brand and so many different foods are available. Companies are working quickly to get there vegan products out there and get there share of the market.

Vegan products made by non vegan companies especially in the beauty and food industries is a particular area of growth. The last couple of years has seen many of the long standing multi national companies bringing out vegan ranges. So it starts to beg the question should we be getting behind these companies and rejoicing in the new found vegan delights or staying well clear and getting solely behind those companies that are vegan, cruelty free and really and truly live by ethical values. That sentence almost gives the answer but I felt like I needed to explore this further.

These huge companies with multiple brands are selling in China, testing on animals and contributing to the environmental damage we are seeing so it seems that they have one thing on there mind – profit. Yet here they are bringing out natural, vegan and cruelty free ranges. Garnier, owned by L’Oreal, are a good example. They have brought out a vegan hair range called Ultimate blends. On the surface it seems great that a traditionally non vegan company are getting on board and going vegan. However even a quick google will being up websites like https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/loreal or https://naturewatch.org/ and you will see that L’Oreal is firmly on there boycott list. L’Oreal sell in China, therefore are required by regulatory authorities to test on animals for finished cosmetics products, they are also not that keen on the ban in the EU! L’Oreal are very vague on there toxic chemicals policy and they are influential in countries where the government are seen to have repressive regimes.

They are not alone! Unilever brought out a Love Beauty hair range which I have to admit is really appealing but not worth the consequences to the environment, human rights and animal rights as you can read here – https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/unilever

The beauty industry is not alone, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Pizza hut, KFC and many other fast food brands have got a vegan food range with many vegans returning to those companies to try the vegan ranges.

Veganism is a fast growing trend and as much as I hate to call it that it has become a buzz word of late. So these companies are effectively getting there cake and eating it, they are getting a share in the vegan market that is fast growing but actually not cleaning up there act. They have jumped on the band wagon and there seems to be very little interest in actually being ethical and improving there practices. So is the answer a firm no – we should not be buying products from these brands?

The problem we have though is that these companies are not going anywhere. They are long standing multi branded established high street names and sell in more countries that I can name. None of that is based on the vegan ranges they have, it is entirely based on products that may contain animal products, may have been tested on animals and may be detrimental to the environment.

So actually can we speak with our wallets and make them increase there vegan range regardless of there agenda by increasing demand. Are vegan products the Trojan horse? I have friends that are not vegan who buy for example L’Oreal as standard but have chosen to buy the vegan L’Oreal range as they feel that they are making a more ethical choice. So actually they are increasing the demand on L’Oreal for there vegan products. The ideal there is that we as a public will push these companies away from there traditional range of products to a more ethical vegan range!

By buying those products we are showing that we want to go vegan, go ethical and be more conscious in what we are buying and our consequence on the planet. So should we push them?

We also have to consider practicality as well. I get a good majority of my vegan products from the supermarket. Is that ethical – likely not but can we feasibly buy everything we want from small ethical vegan independents – well not easily is the answer.

To be honest I am not sure there is a right answer here. There is an arguments for both ways push the big companies or boycott them. For me I think its maybe a bit of both. Look into each company that are bringing out a range as you make your choice, some companies you may feel are worth overlooking there other unethical practices in order to increase demand and push them to be more ethical in the long run and others there is just no justifying there behavior and a barge pole would not be long enough to touch them with.

I think regardless particularly in the current climate going local be it vegan or not is a fantastic choice. I would love to hear your opinion on this matter and how you deal with the ethical choice you make?

Thank for reading and I hope you have enjoyed my allotment photos sprinkled in this post.

AKL