The number of trademark applications for new vegan and food drink products is rising.
From 2018 to 2019, there was a 128 percent increase in companies successfully applying for trademarks on vegan products.
According to law firm EMW, in 2019, companies applied for 107 trademarks on products like dairy-free ice cream and plant-based burgers. In 2018, there were 47 recorded applications of the same nature.
EMW notes that the vegan food category is growing with help from major corporations. Unilever, for example, trademarked vegan ice cream. The consumer goods giant owns both Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s.
Supermarket chain Lidl trademarked a range of plant-based products. Restaurant chains, including Honest Burgers and Leon, also registered trademarks for products like vegan meat and condiments.
Daisy Divoka, an associate at EMW, told LIVEKINDLY: “for a relatively small cost, a registered trademark gives a business a level of protection from trademark infringement, extra credibility with its customers and suppliers, and it is an extra asset that can hold significant value on a future exit.”
Upfield, the owner of Flora and vegan cheese brand Violife, and California-based Beyond Meat, both trademarked variations on “Beyond Cheese,” “Beyond Mince,” and “Beyond Butter.”
‘A Fast-Growing Sector’
“There are now more vegan products on supermarket shelves than ever before,” Divoka said in a statement. Tesco recently launched 30 new vegan products and, in January, Waitrose announced it was doubling its plant-based range, adding products like fish-free goujons and meat-free mousaka.
“Multi-national corporations have identified this as a fast-growing sector and are competing to register their trademarks with the aim of capturing and defending a share of the market,” Divoka added. “The trend towards vegan food shows no sign of abating anytime soon.”
While the data is from before the lockdown, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic seems to have encouraged Brits to eat more vegan food.
According to research from Mintel, nearly 8 million people in the UK now perceive a plant-based diet as “more attractive.” A separate study stated that 25 percent of millennial Brits said the pandemic has made vegan food more appealing.
“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we were seeing a growing interest in plant-based food and drink across global markets,” said Alex Beckett, Mintel’s associate director for food and drink, in a statement. “It may well be that the pandemic is accelerating this trend.”