In recent times, consumer apprehensions have arisen in response to an EU ruling permitting the utilization of insects in novel food. While this development may be startling to some, it is crucial to recognize that various industries have been employing insects for production purposes for quite some time. For instance, shellac, a resin secreted by female lac bugs, caused an uproar when consumers discovered that products they never suspected, such as fruit, were coated with it and inadvertently ingested animal products. Insects also feature in other industries; silk, often considered a luxurious textile, is produced by boiling silk worms alive inside their cocoons, while cochineal dye, commonly found in food and cosmetics, derives its vibrant red hue from crushed cochineal bug bodies turned into powder form. A survey by The Vegan Society further underscored the extent to which individuals are unaware of insect usage in commonplace products: 39.9% did not know that cochineal was derived from bugs, and a mere 2.6% could accurately identify ten frequently employed cosmetic ingredients of animal origin – highlighting the challenge of discerning non-vegan items without the assurances provided by third-party certification, such as those offered by registered members of The Vegan Trademark since 1990.
The research bolsters recent findings in which 77% of respondents, rising to 94% among vegans, indicated that trustworthy and transparent certifications would help them distinguish vegan-friendly options, owing to the credibility conferred by symbols from organizations dedicated to promoting ethical consumption free from exploitation, cruelty, and environmental damage. The Vegan Society, established by Donald Watson who coined the term “vegan,” advocates for a philosophy and lifestyle that endeavours to eliminate, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Steve Hamon, the society’s CEO, stated, “Since our inception in 1944, our vision of a world where humans do not exploit other animals has not wavered, and this stance remains integral to our goals today.” Establishments displaying the approved trademark symbol guarantee that no hidden animal ingredients are involved in the manufacturing process, nor is testing required to meet the standards set by the globally recognized brand. This facilitates decision-making among the plethora of choices available, providing customers with peace of mind in knowing that their selection is a morally sound option that supports the movement’s values and principles, while simultaneously enhancing business sales opportunities through a trusting and loyal customer base that recognizes the commitment to quality, animal welfare, and the planet.