According to These Savvy Start-ups, the Future is Vegan

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This lifestyle choice is creating customers who put their money where their mouth is.

Fruit smoothie bowlsAccording to a recent study, which predicted market trends for 2017, ‘vegan food’ saw a spike in Google searches last year – rising 83% from 2015. But, it’s not just a diet. As vegans will vouch, it’s also a lifestyle choice that affects what people eat, wear, do and how they socialise. Searching for biz-piration? Look for your own gap in the meatless market in these areas:

Concept stores
Last year saw the launch of two vegan clothing stores in American and Canada offering a bricks-and-mortar alternative to shopping online for animal-friendly fashion. In Toronto, The Imperative sells leather-look clothing and has an Om dedicated to vegan footwear. At the launch party for Vaute in Manhattan, they served up vegan cupcakes from the trendy plant-based eatery By Chloe and gave away a cruelty-free lip tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics with the first 100 purchases.

Subcultures
Across the internet, vegans with a particular passion are gathering en masse – and every subculture offers a commercial opportunity. There are vegan Runners, vegan cross-fitters and the surfing community, Vegan Frotherz. Increasingly, brands are beginning to cater to the needs of these groups with the launch of vegan running shoes, surf wax (which doesn’t contain beeswax) and gym snacks. Last year, Patagonia released a plant-based wetsuit that is free from neoprene.

Influencers
When the band Blink 182 were looking for a chef to take on tour, they asked vegan chef Mary Mattern, known to her 150,000 Instagram followers as Nom Yourself. She’s not the only vegan to become a social media sensation. Molly Tuttle, founder of the lifestyle blog, FashionVeggie shares her tips for cruelty-free skincare, fashion and the plans for her eco-friendly wedding. But it’s not even all about the ve-girls: last year, ‘Regan the Vegan’, a personal trainer from Melbourne, became a viral sensation after posting a YouTube video titled ‘Why I went vegan’. In 24 hours, it earned him over a million views across Youtube and Facebook – plus hundreds of marriage proposals.

Interiors
Most vegans avoid leather and suede, along with wool, silk and down, which can rule out a lot of stylish home décor. To solve the problem, vegan homeware brands are emerging such as Karton Group, the cardboard furniture start-up. You can also hire expert help if you’re having trouble tracking down veritable vegan wares. Deborah Rosenberg of Dimare Designs is a PETA-approved vegan home interior consultant, and Studio Can-Can works with vegan architects and designers to craft the interiors of shops, hotels and offices. The best news? In the IKEA café, they now serve a vegan version of their famous Swedish meatballs.

Eateries
In London, crowds gathered for the opening of the ‘world’s first vegan fried chicken shop’, The Temple of Seitan. Launched by a Melbourne-couple who, before adopting the lifestyle choice worked in a fast-food joint, the “chicken” is made from seitan, a type of wheat gluten. In America, the vegan food industry is booming with high-end eatery Crossroads drawing in famous faces. According to the musician Moby, who’s an investor, “It’s where the weird vegan celebrities eat. Johnny Depp, Paul McCartney, Ron Wood and Dave Grohl were all in the private room the other night.”

Robert de Vos

The next biggie is vegan dog food – if any one wants do it, I developed a recipe which has been in use in South Africa for over 5 years by the largest natural dog food manufacturer here in Cape Town.

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