What started out as a food trend has now transcended itself into the beauty industry as well. Social media conversations and celebrities are driving millennials to ask more questions building curiosity around ‘Beauty with compassion’. These pro-social shoppers are now digging deeper to understand the ingredients of their daily use products and take into account animal derivatives used in the beauty/cosmetic industry while making purchasing decisions. To put things into perspective, from rabbit eyes, honey, beeswax, gelatin from cows or pigs to ambergris (whale vomit), and so much more is a part of almost every beauty and personal care product we use. So, what happens if everyone on this planet went vegan? Will it impact us positively? The University of Oxford believes it will. It could save 8 million human lives by 2050, which is more than the population of Iceland, Croatia, and Lithuania combined! It could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by two-thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings, and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion which is more than the combined GDP of UK, Germany, and France!
What’s driving adoption?
Conscious consumers, who understand the core concepts of Vegan and Vegetarian well, are majorly driving adoption. However, this radical lifestyle choice is not just ethics-driven. Social media, influencers, and celebrity advocates are making the conversation mainstream. Documentaries like Save Ralph, Cowspiracy are hard-hitting and directly speak to millennials. As next steps, the debate on vegan and vegetarian needs to be further amplified to draw awareness. Beauty brands need to talk about how the adoption of a vegan lifestyle will save more lives and be more transparent about their manufacturing processes.
Making a mindful choice
So many labels and buzzwords can be confusing to even a discerning consumer. While regulations exist, they’re not stringent. As consumers, you need to educate yourself on labels and read the fine print; understand what ‘clean’, ‘environment-friendly’, ‘cruelty-free’, ‘vegan’, and such labels actually mean for a brand. While many have taken to Ayurveda, the popular alternative medicine system is not entirely plant-based.
A responsibility, no longer an option
While being a vegan is a choice, as brands promoting sustainability and eco-friendly choices, our responsibility is transparent communication. In today’s day and age, veganism for every beauty brand will no longer be an option but a proactive step towards a better-for-you, better-for-earth approach. In fact, the next trigger of growth for veganism in my opinion will come with innovative vegan packaging replacing today’s packaging practices that use animal derivatives (adhesive – animal-based gelatine, animal fat-based lubricants on production machines).
This undeniable popularity of veganism in the beauty industry will see a spurt as brands and consumers work hand-in-hand to drive further adoption. Global animal-rights organizations like PETA, Vegan Society, Beauty without Cruelty, etc are creating the right noise to spread awareness. We believe as informed consumers make conscious choices, vegan beauty will grab more attention creating a radical consumer behaviour pattern that will ultimately be better for the planet.
With inputs from Anurag Kedia, Co-founder and CEO, Pilgrim.