Veganism is one of the world’s most rapidly-growing industries.
Of course, it is far more to many of us than simply an industry, but the commercialisation and popularity of veganism has huge positive impacts, to ourselves, to the planet, and obviously, to the animals. But with vegan businesses, whatever their corner of the market, comes a great deal of inspiration.
Here are 10 of our favourite, and most inspiring, vegan companies:
The Vegan Box
Hannah at the Vegan Box was one of our earlier and most inspiring clients. A naturopath for many years, her vision for the Vegan Box – founded in 2013 – was to provide a simple means for others to discover inspiring, nutritional or simply fantastic vegan products.
What began as a passion project run from her spare bedroom in the evenings after work has turned into her full time business and The Vegan Box is shipped monthly to thousands of people across Australia.
Hannah’s tenacity and vision for The Vegan Box, coupled with the wonderful business concept she created for herself and her long list of contributions to vegan non-profits, makes one of our most inspiring clients.
Vegan and fashion are all too frequently oxymoronic. Whilst there are some great brands out there creating some superb vegan products, there are also a swathe of products left over from the ‘70s – daggy hippy-wear that has its time and place, but is far from street-credible.
Etiko has developed a high-quality range of Converse-style trainers (along with organic cotton tees and underwear, and organic rubber thongs) that are as ethical as they are fashionable.
While they are nothing unique in design, what truly inspires us about Etiko is the lengths they go to to make every aspect of their products and business as ethical as possible.
Etiko shoes are made from 100 percent fair trade, organic cotton and FSC-certified, natural rubber. The glue used is vegan, and the company goes to exceptional lengths to ensure that all of the workers creating their product are paid well and looked after, both in their work time and within their communities. All of this, and still offering a superb-quality, competitively-priced product.
Proof perfect that an otherwise conventional business model can be achieved with the highest of ethical principles.
Yes, that Domino’s! This may seem like an incredibly bizarre addition to this list, and there is much that we aren’t so keen on about the 58-year-old global pizza empire, but it does showcase elements of business ethics that are being rapidly adopted by many. While would be easy enough for Domino’s to provide a token meat-and-dairy-free option, the company has taken it to the next level by creating three delicious, ‘cheezy’, vegan delights, complete with gooey ‘Nozzarella’ and stacks of toppings.
Added to this, Domino’s has an entire department dedicated to ethical causes – its Give for Food program – contributing to charities, sustainable farming practices and more.
It is incredibly heartening to see that more and more mainstream companies of all kinds are picking up the message of ethics on numerous levels. While Domino’s and many others may have a long way to go and still contribute to numerous far-from- ethical practices, the fact that they both acknowledge and act upon ethical concepts is highly commendable. Proof once again that any company can take steps towards a better future.
People’s perspectives of veganism vary greatly. Some think of it as the latest uber-cool Insta-trend, others think it’s the realm of off-grid hippies, others still view it as simply a way of life, no matter where you might fall in society.
All of these demographics, however, would struggle to see their beliefs as a corporate venture. Yet Glass Wall Syndicate does precisely that. The conglomerate of venture capitalists, foundations, trusts, non-profits and individual investors seek out start-up companies, ethical businesses and vegan enterprises to support financially. Their modus operandi is to “accelerate mainstream adoption of products and services that will make a difference in the lives of animals and people, and that are better for the planet.”
Though more and more people become conscious of health, animal rights and planetary preservation, veganism is still very much a minority niche market. With the assistance of Glass Wall Syndicate, entrepreneurial individuals can bring their ethical ideas to fruition with the financial investment and backing that many banks might fail to see the viability in. In a far broader sense than is usually recognised, Glass Wall Syndicate truly are investing in the future.
Way back in 1991, before even the concept of social media or hashtagged trends were even a concept, the Fry family made the decision to produce meat-and dairy-free products for the mainstream food industry.
Debbie, a lifelong vegetarian, and her husband Wally, a devout carnivore prior to their meeting, began small, creating burgers and sausages for a select collection of outlets. Since then, their family has grown, literally and metaphorically, and Fry’s has entered the demanding world of supermarket supply worldwide.
What is so wonderful about Fry’s is that they have taken on a meat-dominated market, gone against convention and still developed a highly successful mainstream business. Vegans would have to resort to soggy, nutritionally-redundant burgers from supermarkets or take the time to search out products at their locally-owned health store to find good-quality meat substitutes, but thanks to the Fry family, delicious, nutritious vegan products are available in the aisles of your high street supermarket, with both Coles and Woolworths now stocking their yummy products.
How frustrating is it to spend time and money of finding a wonderful holiday destination and ensuring the hotel offers wifi, gym or other required facilities, only to find that the provided buffet breakfast is replete with mountains of bacon, scrambled eggs, pre-buttered toast and lashings of dairy and the dinner menu is a ‘surf and turf’ extravaganza?
The Beet Retreat is a beautiful breath of fresh air to the travelling vegan. Located on a 20-acre property in the heart of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, the bed and breakfast venue is a haven of tranquillity and peace.
Beet Retreat host, Jan, has travelled around the world and regales guests with tales of her journeys over delicious homemade meals, breakfast lunch and dinner. The grounds are a sanctuary for rescued animals, from chickens and sheep to horses and cows, as well as a collection of more domestic four-legged friends.
More than simply a holiday destination, The Beet Retreat aims to inspired, offering vegan cooking classes, recipes and a menu of inspiration to show people how tasty, beneficial and compassionate a vegan diet can be. The Beet Retreat is proof that a humble business model can become a successful operation while adhering to a strong vegan concept.
Mukti’s name alone is inspiring enough in its own right to make this Australian cosmetics company worthy of our list. Taken from the Sanskrit word meaning to liberate oneself from fear, ignorance and false knowledge, Mukti Organics believes that beauty is more than skin deep – it is global – and that cosmetics need not be filled with harsh chemicals or cause harm in any way to be profoundly beneficial.
Sourcing organic botanicals and native extracts, Mukti’s cosmetics are good enough to eat, and being palm oil, wheat and gluten-free, even coeliacs might be tempted to dip a finger into their products!
Stating that cosmetics are not tested on animals is, while still admirable, very commonplace nowadays. Mukti, however, go several steps further, eliminating palm oil for its heavy ecological impact, refusing any ingredients that may have been tested on animals by a third party and not exporting to countries in which animal testing is still condoned.
These adamant steps may well have stood in the way of Mukti expanding to an international, multi-million-dollar business, but integrity far outweighs wealth for the founder, for whom the company is named. Mukti the person is an eco-activist and green cosmetic chemistry pioneer and her business is a personification of her beliefs.
Victoria Moran is somewhat of a vegan superstar. Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and numerous other talk shows around the world, Victoria shares her business with the masses.
Discovering the profound benefits of a vegan lifestyle for herself, overcoming significant health issues on a plant-based diet, Victoria established Main Street Vegan to show that we can all receive wonderful physical and mental benefits by removing animals from our menus.
Now what could be described as a vegan wellness coach, Victoria educates newcomers to veganism through podcasts, blogs and books, going even further by establishing an academy to empower existing vegans to ‘take their vegan outreach to the next level by training as an MSVA-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator.’
Victoria and Main Street Vegan are the perfect examples of not only embodying and supporting veganism, but also expanding its message far beyond their own lives for the greater good of people, animals and planet.
Where would this list be without Vegan Business Media? Founder Katrina Fox has gone to great lengths to compile this incredible resource for any new, growing or even long-established vegan company.
Filled with blogs, videos, even online training, Vegan Business Media has the sole intention of helping vegan businesses to thrive. Incorporating myriad topics for every level of business, Katrina’s superb site enables start-up ethical businesses to establish, launch, grow and succeed.
While Katrina has developed Vegan Business Media into a highly successful company in its own right, the beauty of her website is that her intention is to provide the perfect support resource to strengthen and grow the vegan community into a financially-viable and progressive network of ethical companies, making veganism easier, more affordable and better for everyone.
Number ten on our list is you…yes, you. You may not know it yet, but yours can be a business that inspires and helps to change the world. You can make simple decisions for the greater good in any kind of business. You may review your list of suppliers and decide to replace some of them based on their ethics or sourcing. You may switch to ethical banking or investments. You may start offering meat-free alternatives or encouraging plant-based days in your office canteen or simply amongst staff. It could even be as simple as nominating a charity each month to contribute to. It might only be a matter of $50 each month, but even that can make a huge difference.
For more ways to veganise your business and become a company that you can be proud to call ethical, read our blog on the subject HERE.