There’s no question that the concept of cruelty-free is making it into the mainstream. Plant-based products are lining the shelves at big-box retailers, hitting the major morning shows and popping into recipes.
Vegan living has clearly moved from niche area of interest to significant player in popular culture. And while there’s still a long way to go, lots of companies are helping to perpetuate a paradigm shift. These groundbreaking businesses are making amazing products, raising awareness and showing people what’s possible when we leave animals out of the equation.
Here are five such companies who are changing the world:
This Silicon Valley food start-up, fueled by investors including Bill Gates, is the brand behind the eggless wonder known as Just Mayo. Their tangy spread is taking over store shelves nationwide. Its popularity even raised some red flags with Unilever — makers of Hellmann’s, who filed suit against Hampton Creek earlier this year, claiming that mayonnaise isn’t mayonnaise without eggs. Instead of hurting the newbie brand, however, the lawsuit reportedly earned Just Mayo a whopping $21 Million dollars in free advertising before Unilever has the sense to drop it. Led by visionary CEO Josh Tetrick, the company’s long term goal is to replace the egg using sustainable, cost-effective, cruelty-free methods. Clearly, they’re well on their way.
Some people think business and ethics don’t make good bedfellows. This list is proof positive that that’s a myth, and there’s no better example than Optimized Partners (originally known as Rocky Mountain Humane Investing, Corp.). This remarkable business dates back to 1995, when founder Brad Pappas launched the company as the first ever investment advisory firm in the U.S. that focused solely on vegan, green and environmentally sustainable investment strategy. Their time-tested, proprietary system is designed to protect client assets while actively participating in advancing markets and supporting social responsibility. In the realm of finance, they’re showing the world that it’s possible to make money AND make a difference, and that’s huge.
The world’s first vegan supermarket chain, this German company opened its first store in the summer of 2011, and they’re already in Berlin Friedrichshain, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Essen, Cologne, Prague and Vienna with a plan to have 21 stores across Europe by the end of 2015. Best of all, they’re slated to break ground in the U.S. by opening a clothing store and restaurant in Portland, Ore. in 2016. With the motto “Wir lieben Leben” (we love life), this company is transforming the concept of cruelty-free shopping, and making life easier for herbivores all over the world.
Another big winner in the mainstream market, Beyond Meat is becoming the meat alternative of choice for millions of Americans — many of them omnivores. Cooked up in a laboratory in California, their chickenless chicken strips and beefless crumble are staples in stores like Target and Publix, and even the stars of The Today Show couldn’t tell the difference between Beyond Meat and meat in a taste test. The future of meat is meatless, and Beyond Meat is leading the charge.
This rapidly expanding chain of eateries is fundamentally changing the definition of “fast food.” Founded in California in 1994, Native Foods Café has locales from coast to coast, and their fast-casual, cruelty-free cuisine is popular with vegans and omnivores alike. Their 100% plant-based menu features foods all made fresh daily, from Native Nachos to Super Italian Meatball Subs to Classic Deli Reubens. With locations in California, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, DC and Virginia, there are many more to come. This company is turning attention away from the usual fast food suspects, and opening the eyes of eaters to the deliciousness of cruelty-free cuisine.
The plant-based marketplace gets bigger and better every day, and these are just a handful of the amazing companies working tirelessly to improve life for humans and animals, alike.
What other companies would you add to the list? Tell us about them.