Creating Vegan Products: a checklist

Just Got Made • 29 Jan 2020

” Vegan: Contains no animal products and none were involved as part of the production process. “

The UK alone is now home to an estimated 600,000 vegans, and veganism’s recent undeniable rise in popularity even prompted The Economist to declare 2019 as the ‘Year of the Vegan’.

Modern veganism encompasses not just dietary requirements, but includes products in almost every category from beauty and household, to fashion and even travel. It always makes sense for us as designers and makers to be aware of new trends, but when it comes to making vegan products is it wise to jump straight in?

Claiming vegan credentials without the proper research, motivation and development work could put you at risk of a customer backlash, so before you get started on developing vegan products,

here is a useful checklist of questions to ask.

What is the origin of my materials?

The obvious question to ask, this one! When creating vegan products, you need to make sure your materials and ingredients are 100% animal-free. Beware, sometimes it is easy to mistake ingredients for vegan when in fact they are not, or to overlook ‘hidden’ materials you might be using. For example, solvents in many types of glue derive from a cow’s stomach and this would be excluded from a vegan product.

To make sure your materials meet requirements, you can check basic and more obscure ingredients in PETA’s animal-derived ingredients list.

Learn More:
Source: PETA

Is my manufacturing and making process at risk from cross-contamination?

Aside from the materials involved in any production processes, The Vegan Society also has several other areas it recommends looking at before applying for a Vegan Trademark, including reviewing your production process. If any processes have a historical background in animal testing, and if you or your manufacturing partners are at risk of cross-contamination with animal-derived products you need to investigate thoroughly and, if necessary, find an alternative solution.

Do I need the Vegan Trademark?

The Vegan Trademark is a global standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal testing, organised by the Vegan Society.
Though recognised as a trusted mark by customers, it is not necessary to register your products and you do not need to be a fully vegan company to register your vegan products under the trademark.

Learn more:
Source: The Vegan Society

Is creating vegan products my best fit?

Certain products are a great match for a vegan lifestyle, others, not so much. If you are practicing a heritage craft (the majority of which use natural materials which may have a connection with animals) or are already established in your practice using animal materials, say, leather or silk, it may not make sense for you to embark on this journey.

An alternative path might be to look at aligning your business with cruelty-free or vegetarian guidelines. For example, if a product claims to be ‘cruelty-free but not vegan’, it means the product was not tested on animals but it does contain some animal-derived ingredients or by-products. Vegetarian products are similar to vegan, but vegetarian products do not contain any animal products resulting from slaughter. The use of animal by-products such as beeswax, lactic acid is therefore approved to use.

As with any topic, there is plenty to learn and understand, but I hope this gives you a good start.

What do you think? I’d love to hear more from makers that are making or embarking on developing vegan products and that would like to share their story. To contribute, please email me Helen @ with a quick introduction and images of what you do. Thanks!


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