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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

12 companies leading the way in the vegan and plant-based sphere

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As veganism gains momentum, the number of companies exclusively aligning with animal-free ethics is increasing and they are infiltrating every industry.

Once upon a time, there were a few vegetarian companies. These grew in number and as veganism became more recognised, a few added some animal-free products to their ranges.

Skip ahead, say, five years and suddenly, you can’t enjoy a social media session, supermarket shop or browse online without stumbling across a host of new vegan companies all clamouring for your cash.

But which are really pressing ahead and making the biggest waves?

Desserto

dessertoThe days of animal leather could be numbered thanks to Desserto and the cactus-based alternative it has innovated. Light, supple and with a texture that closely resembles the ‘real thing’, it can be used in countless fashion, automotive, footwear and furniture applications.

The reach of the company is growing exponentially as more partners see the value in embracing vegan consumers across wider spectrums than just food. H&M is just one of the latest adopters.

Read our interview with Desserto founders Adrián Velarde and Marte Cázarez.

HappyCow

happycowHappyCow has been around for a while now, starting as a simple restaurant finder and now expanding into a full community and reference resource in the palm of your hand. Free to download and use (though certain functions are an optional purchase), it can be found on the smart phones of vegans throughout the world. The restaurant reviews are still one of the most useful features and can help you level up to get paid-for features free of charge.

Meatless Farm

meatless farmThere are plenty of meat alternatives to choose from but Meatless Farm is really doing a lot for the vegan movement. Having partnered with Real Madrid to spread the message that meat-free eating doesn’t affect performance negatively but will help the planet, it has also launched a plant protein facility in Calgary to supply other brands with a range of base ingredients. That’s community over competition if ever we saw it.

Oatly

oatlyOh, Oatly. With its annoyingly good adverts, staunch defence of the alt-dairy industry and varied oat-based product range, it is up there with the best of them. Known throughout the world and enjoyed everywhere from cafes and restaurants to private homes, it is undoubtedly one of the most pioneering outfits in the vegan sphere.

The investment snafu was a little unfortunate, but the CEO opened up about it and it seems as though we are all giving the brand the benefit of the doubt. Oatly: please don’t disappoint us.

Daiya

daiyaHow many times have we heard that people would try going vegan if it wasn’t for the lack of tasty dairy-free cheese? Well, Daiya is paving the way for store-bought plant-based cheeses.

With one of the best boxed mac and cheese products available, it also offers a great packaged cheddar and an impressive mozzarella substitute too. Definitely a brand that is making even the most committed dairy fans think twice about “finding their happy plate”.

Read our story exploring how vegan cheese brands are replicating dairy.

Candy Kittens

candy kittensFew people could have predicted that Jamie Laing, Made in Chelsea alumni and heir to the McVities fortune, would step up and create a sweets brand with vegans in mind, but here we are. The entire product catalogue is gelatine-free, clearly labelled as being vegan and the flavours are honestly delicious.

One of the first chewy sweet brands to be stocked by major supermarkets, Candy Kittens started in Waitrose and has now branched out into all of the others and are bringing out new flavours all of the time. Haribo could learn a lesson here.

Naturli’

naturliA Danish company with a global fanbase, Naturli’ is transforming fridges and freezers around the world with its host of alt-dairy items, meat-free protein products and even plant-based pizzas.

It’s not a newcomer by any means, having been founded in 1988, but it has really come into its own recently, particularly with one of the best vegan alternatives to butter on the market. Also, how can we not all love a company that tells us to, “eat plants because there is no planet B”?

Veshin

veshinAn industry leader, Veshin is transforming a leather good manufacturing facility into a vegan-friendly production hub. It will take a little time to transition fully but work has started in earnest, with animal leather alternatives already being used and sustainable fabrics being focussed on. This is definitely a company to watch, as what it is attempting is truly groundbreaking and exciting.

Check out our interview with Veshin co-founder Joey Pringle.

TheVeganKind

thevegankindWe could wax lyrical about TheVeganKind, but let’s keep it simple. A dedicated vegan supermarket, it makes shopping for essentials and treats easier than ever before. Showing indies and bigger brands equal amounts of love and support, TheVeganKind is the answer to a question many of us didn’t think we could ask: yes, there is an alternative to the Big Four supermarkets, and home delivery won’t break the bank.

Read what TheVeganKind has planned for the near future in our exclusive interview with its CEO Scott McCulloch.

THIS

this isn't chickenWidely heralded as offering the first viable bacon alternative that meat-eaters actually like, THIS is a vegan company that combines great products with genius marketing and a good sense of humour. Because we vegans can be funny and laugh at ourselves.

The real shock here is that the products might be suitable for us, but they are absolutely aimed at meat fans, in a bid to lure them away from animal products for the good of the planet and personal health. Compelling, delicious and clever.

 

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Melibio

melibioWe’ve established that honey isn’t vegan already, and though there have been alternatives available for a long time, such as agave and date syrup, none of them have the honey flavour that a lot of vegans miss.

Melibio has stepped up to offer exactly that with its “honey made without bees”. Seeking to remove the exploitation of bees from the process of honey production, Melibio is an inspired and authentic creation that offers all the sweet and natural taste with none of the traditional animal involvement.

Read about the scientific underpinnings of Melibio and the founder’s opinion that honey bees are lazy.

Humans Are Vain

humans are vainSustainable fashion is one thing but combining a desire to make a smaller impact on the world with exclusively vegan-friendly materials is something else and requires a slow fashion approach. That’s what Humans Are Vain specialises in, creating understated lines of footwear and clothing that will outlast fleeting trends and remain classic.

Founded by a former fast fashion big-hitter, the brand whispers rather than shouts, but the noise it is making in the industry is beginning to resonate rather loudly

Find all about Humans Are Vain in our interview with its co-founder Chriss Margetts.

The vegan business world is getting bigger and more exciting every day. While huge corporations are starting to see the value in creating plant-based versions of longstanding favourite products, it’s the operations that are vegan through-and-through who are making the biggest difference.

So are we though, as consumers, because we choose to spend our money with these companies, giving them the opportunity to expand and grow, meaning that we have a responsibility to choose carefully.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.

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