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Five Questions Vegan Consumers Want To Know About Your Beverage

3 2021

Veganism, the practice of abstaining from consuming animals or using animal-based products, is on the rise. The commitment to rejecting animal-based products goes far beyond skipping cheeseburgers, because so many of the items we use on a daily basis include elements from animals - think refusing to wear leather shoes, or avoiding breath mints that contain gelatin.

A study from 2020 found that there are an estimated 79 million vegans worldwide, making them a significant market that’s often hard to please.

Vegans are often very conscious consumers who conduct extensive research to make sure that a potential purchase is in line with their ethical standards. Here’s the most common questions that vegans will have about your beverage:

Vegan Beverages

1) Are any ingredients derived from animals?

This is the most important question and make-or-break factor as to whether or not a vegan will purchase your product. Labeling your drink as vegan or cruelty-free is a wise beverage marketing tactic, as vegan consumers can instantly recognize your brand as friendly to their lifestyle.

With sales of vegan food and drink reaching a staggering $4.5 billion in 2019, this market is certainly one you should consider tapping.

However, just because your drink doesn’t contain milk or eggs doesn’t mean you can confidently change your beverage packaging to indicate that it’s vegan-friendly.

There are a number of unexpected ingredients, such as honey, which place your product squarely into the category of “non vegan.” It’s critical that you review your product list carefully before declaring your product to be vegan.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team for marketing advice
beverage flavorings and colorings

2) What flavors and colorings do you use?

Many of the most common flavor enhancers and dyes, widely used across the beverage industry, are derived from animals. While they may not immediately come to your mind as animal products, you must disclose their use in your beverage, lest vegan consumers feel misled. For example, Vitamin D3, a fortifier often used in fruit juices, comes from lamb’s wool, making products that use it off limit to vegans

Even for non-vegan customers, it’s critical that you stay keenly aware of each and every ingredient in your products. With allergies and food sensitivities on the rise, an advanced understanding of everything present in your beverage is an important insurance policy for your business and a critical aspect of trust-building with your customers.

Sugar free beverages

3) How is it sweetened?

While this is less directly related to the moral convictions around veganism, vegan consumers are often more health-conscious than non-vegan consumers. A significant number of vegans even take up the lifestyle because of its health benefits, so they’re eager to choose healthier alternatives to sugar and are more likely to select beverages with sugar substitutes. 

If your drink is a clean label product, it’s crucial that you utilize beverage packaging which clearly conveys that. Leveraging your brand’s status as a provider of straightforward information about what exactly is in your drink is a highly effective beverage marketing technique that’s sure to resonate with vegan consumers.

Beverage Development

4) How was it developed and tested?

For many vegans, the choice to be vegan is based on ethical considerations. They want to know if a product has been tested or developed using animals at any stage of the process. It’s up to you to look back on the process of creating your drink and see if there was any animal-dependent research along the way. 

You should also review the colorings used in your drink. Because many of these dyes were tested on animals, vegans consider them a no-go. Artificial coloring Red 40 - common in many soft drinks, especially those which are fruit-flavored, has been specifically mentioned by vegan groups as a non-option due to it being tested on lab mice.

RC Cola Beverage Packaging

5) What is in your packaging?

Your beverage packaging matters to vegan consumers. They will want to know that the packaging and ink materials used to package your drink contain no animal products. Many common ingredients used in the packaging process contain animal-based elements, making them non-vegan. Gelatin is commonly found in packaging, because it can be used as an adhesive or glue. The majority of inks contain animal byproducts, which means that the lettering on your packaging could place it staunchly in the category of being not friendly to vegans.

Ensuring that your packaging does not leverage animal-based products is a process that requires thorough research, transparency, and accountability. In all likelihood, your packaging is not vegan-friendly and you should carefully weigh whether the transition to non-animal-based packaging makes sense for your business.

Become a bottler with RC Cola for more expert advice on appealing to vegan consumers. With decades of experience in beverage marketing, manufacturing, and bottling, we’d love to guide you on the best strategies to break into the vegan market.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!