If you have heard the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg then you know what she advocates—veganism.
While one way to adopt this trend is making changes to your food habits, there are other ways to go vegan and this probably could be a good start towards being more environment friendly.
How about using vegan personal care products that are not derived from animals and their byproducts?
There is no denying that the use of vegan products in the personal care, cosmetics segment is a global trend but it is fast picking up pace in India as well.
According to Dipali Mathur Dayal, Founder and CEO, Super Smelly, a brand that sells toxin-free vegan personal care products, “in India, the personal care market is USD 14 billion- USD 15 billion which is growing at a CAGR of about nine percent and is expected to be USD 20 billion to USD 22 billion by 2022. But when it comes to toxin free, vegan, organic, naturally derived products, the CAGR is in double digits. Companies selling such products are growing at an average CAGR of 18 percent.”
True, the base may be low. At the same tie, Super Smelly, which started operations in September 2018, doubles its revenues every two months.
There’s another vegan beauty brand that is optimistic about growth in this segment.
Shankar Prasad, Founder, Pureplay Skin Science that houses two vegan brands called Plum and Phy said that they are witnessing a 3x growth in business for Plum.
“In terms of number of customers that we serve a month that is touching 200,000 to 300,000 a month,” he added.
Currently, Plum has around 70 SKUs (stock-keeping units) and the company is looking to double that number in the next one year.
Product portfolio expansion, vegan brands seeing strong business is a signal of the growing consumption trend for such products.
Along with opting for vegan products, Indian consumers are also making sure whatever they are consuming are cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
Is it really vegan?
But how can one make sure that their purchases are both vegan and cruelty-free?
While there is no statutory or regulatory oversight to claim that a product is cruelty-free in India, it is to be kept in mind that in India animal testing is banned completely, pointed out Prasad. “Even for products imported in India. It is a three-year old law and it is completely banned for cosmetics,” he added.
As for vegan products, he said that there are various certifications available globally. “In India there is no one such body other than PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). As for PETA, it relies largely on self-regulation. So, when I sign up with PETA it necessitates me to follow certain code of operations. So, every purchase order that we sent to a vendor has the line saying that ‘because you are confirming to PETA regulation, we require that you do not test any ingredient or product on animals,” explained Prasad.
Products from brand Super Smelly are certified by Safe Cosmetics Australia, an independent not-for-profit campaign established in 2010.
“There are independent labs in India that can help you test products but it is better to go to an institution which is based in a country which has seen this trend (veganism) for long as India is still at a nascent stage and still evolving,” added Dayal.
She also mentioned that Super Smelly products are tested in French labs on volunteers.
Dayal who urges consumers to buy products of companies that have got certification from an agency, shared an interesting account where a boy asked her whether Super Smelly products are cruelty-free.
We may think that when it comes to personal care men don’t care what their products are made of but the reality is the male population in India are equally conscious as women.