It struck a chord with commoners when a host of celebrities from Bollywood and Hollywood promoted the idea of veganism. Today, veganism has moved beyond food. It has opened opportunities for many sustainable brands that produce organic vegan clothing, bags, shoes, cosmetics, and everything under the lifestyle umbrella.
Vegan Vs Organic
There is no doubt that vegan is getting popular. However, it is still not clear how vegan and organic are distinct. While a layman's definition for both is somewhat similar — nature friendly and made of natural products — the two are distinct.
Sargam Dhawan Bhayana, Director at Paul Penders, one of the world’s first Vegan and Natural brands, shines some light on a common misconception that vegan and organic products are not the same. “Being organic does not mean the product is not animal-by product. Vegan products on the other hand do not contain any animal extracts or animal by-products and use plant-based ingredients,” says Sargam. “Organic products do not have any artificial materials. Vegan products are those that are made without the use of any animals,” adds Pradeep Krishnakumar, Co-Founder & COO of Zouk, a vegan brand for bags and wallets.
Beeswax, honey, lanolin, carmine, keratin, or squalene, etc. which are derived from animals are often present in organic cosmetics. However, they are never a part of any vegan cosmetic. Vegan cosmetics are not only plant-based and use the minimum amount of preservatives, they are also gentler on the skin and are gluten-free.
Fashion is called vegan if it does not incorporate animal-derived fabrics like animal leather, wool, silk, or fur.
While we concede that the fad is millennial, Pooja Nagdev, Aromatherapist, Cosmetologist, and Founder of Inatur ayurvedic products point out that the use of natural products has been there for more than 5000 years. “It’s not something that has come on as a trend today. It is something that was always since the time of Ayurveda. Today, more and more people are becoming aware of turning vegan after seeing that there are no side effects and therapeutic benefits. This lifestyle shift will continue to stay and grow in years to come,” she emphasises.
Make a smart choice
Gunjan Jindal Poddar, founder of Amala Earth insists that animal lovers should opt for vegan products. “However, a vegan product need not necessarily also be natural or organic. So, if you are vegan and you don’t wish to consume products of animal origin, you can choose vegan products,” she explains. Santosh Kumar of Kiehl’s India suggests checking the ingredient list before picking up a product. “The only way to ensure you are not being cheated is to check the ingredient list. Vegan products would truly give you the benefits you desire,” says Santosh.
Marketing and more
Once considered an alternative lifestyle choice, veganism has catapulted to the top of trends. The growing popularity has clearly drawn the attention of brands and they are constantly using vegan and organic take in their product marketing. One wonders if the terms are purely a marketing gimmick.
Gunjan is quick to respond, “Not at all! It is entirely up to the consumer to pick and choose whether they want to put their money behind a regular brand or a vegan or organic one.”
Naina Ruhail, CIO and Co-Founder of Vanity Wagon also insists that no way of branding can mislead an aware consumer. “The consumer base is well-aware and looks for certifications from recognised institutions. Not just this, the consumers do look at the label and ingredient list and don’t shy away from calling out the brand if found otherwise,” she concludes.