Veganism in 2020 can take many forms and vegan consumers are adamant about maintaining a vegan philosophy throughout all products, including cosmetics.
As veganism continues to rise throughout the world, consumers are becoming more aware of what ingredients their products contain. As a result, manufacturers are feeling the pressure to cater not just to vegans, but animal lovers in general who wish to avoid any impact on living beings for the sake of their beauty regime.
While this growing trend is showing no signs of slowing down, a shocking number of consumers are still not aware of what goes into their cosmetics. Flawless Lashes by Loreta revealed in a study that 36% of vegetarians (a group distinct from vegans) are completely unaware of the use of animal by-products within the industry.
Why is this number so high? Lack of information may be to blame. While consumers are somewhat responsible for obtaining product information themselves, as an industry, cosmetic companies should feel an obligation to provide this information freely so vegan and vegetarian shoppers are not left feeling disheartened by their latest purchase.
Brands are encouraged to embrace five strategies to better communicate with vegans about the use of (or lack of) animal products within the formulation process.
1. Clearly Labeled Ingredients
Despite regulations requiring cosmetic brands to list the ingredients found within a product’s packaging, consumers are often still unclear about what a formulation contains.
For those who have not worked in the industry, many of these ingredients can appear confusing because scientific terminology is used. For example, E120, a natural dye derived from cochineal bugs, is listed in a seemingly random mixture of letters and numbers that the common consumer may be unable to translate.
When labeling ingredients, all elements should be made clear to avoid any unsatisfied customers in the future.
2. Clear Logos
The most conscious consumer will scrutinize a product’s ingredient list. In reality, the average consumer does not have time to read every bottle and package label or research any unknown ingredients.
If products are vegan, a brand should have them registered with The Vegan Society. By doing so, the society’s logo can be placed on approved products so active vegans can quickly and easily identify if a product is in line with their ethics.
If a brand’s products are not vegan, although not required by law, a gesture of “Not Suitable for Vegetarians/Vegans” stated on the packaging can go a long way toward brand transparency. This will prevent consumers from accidentally purchasing a product that could result in a negative view of a business—i.e., if a brand does eventually release a vegan product, consumers may be less inclined to choose it after previous experiences.
3. Use Social Media
By now, brands all know the power of social media and how they can instantly share information, products and promotions to interested members of the public.
If at one time a brand’s products weren’t suitable for vegans but the ingredients have since changed, that organization can use social media to promote the update. In addition to posts advertising this new product/range, brands should utilize hashtags and tag trending vegan pages as a way of invoking the interest of consumers that previously avoided the brand’s non-vegan products.
4. Explain Why
For some products, it may be essential that brands use animal by-products in order to obtain the quality consumers are used to, making the change to vegan formulations difficult.
The aforementioned study conducted by Flawless Lashes by Loreta revealed that 34% of the vegetarians surveyed are still willing to use products with an animal-derived ingredient, suggesting that some vegetarian consumers value beauty over ethics.
Instead of shying away from the topic, brands can use this opportunity to educate the public on why ingredients of this nature are needed. Whether it be on the packaging, the website or social media pages, brands should explain what these ingredients are, where they derived from and why they are important to the product.
Consumers value honesty and transparency from manufacturers. Brands can score points with consumers when they are open about what ingredients are used.
5. Plastic Pollution
The last few years have seen the rise of the eco-conscious consumer. While many choose to live a vegan lifestyle for the wellbeing of animals, the impact on the environment is a rising factor for choosing this lifestyle.
A brand’s packaging plays an important role in selling products, but it is no longer just about the aesthetic. An increasing number of consumers are choosing to purchase products based on plastic waste.
The recyclability of packaging should be clearly stated so consumers can dispose of it correctly. If the packaging is currently not recyclable, brands should consider offering alternative uses as a way of discouraging users from sending the pack to a landfill.
Some manufacturers are offering a trade-in scheme and offer consumers a discount off their next purchase in exchange for the return of packaging, whether recyclable or not. This gives brands the ability to control the amount of plastic in landfills from their products and retain customers.
Tactics such as this can influence consumers to deem a brand as eco-conscious, complete repeat purchases and explore other ranges that are being offered.
About the author:
Loreta Jasilionyte is the owner and founder of Flawless Lashes by Loreta, an award-winning, luxury provider of eyelash extensions and eyelash extension courses. Established in 2013, Flawless Lashes by Loreta has been voted ‘Best Eyelash Product Supplier’ two years in a row by Lash Inc. magazine.