When it comes to vegan business ideas, a lot has changed since I first published this post in 2016. At the time, I was frustrated with the lack of vegan-friendly products available.
I was confused as to why there weren’t better dairy-free ice creams or vegan fashion brands that didn’t suck.
Well, fortunately, the market caught on, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the progress made in these areas. My local supermarket freezer is now filled with vegan ice creams and there’s an explosion of ethical fashion labels paving the way.
I used to wonder how amazing it would be if there was a vegan-friendly rival to McDonald’s. Now, even Hungary Jack’s (Burger King) and Dominos offer vegan options. Who would have thought!?
My wife Masa and I have travelled the world and have seen vegan malls, nightclubs, vegan Japanese restaurants and world-class vegan pizzerias. We’re even proud owners of puffy winter jackets with remarkably no bird feathers.
While we should take a moment to celebrate this entrepreneurial progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Vegan business ideas just keep on coming
I’ve had countless business ideas since becoming vegan, but with the demanding commitment of The Minimalist Vegan, I can only dream of these concepts, without the capacity to execute on them.
So in this post, I’m sharing 45 vegan business opportunities that could help any marketplace. I’ve updated this article to include more relevant ideas to match the current times.
My hope is that you can bring these ideas to life and shift the demand for ethical products and services.
These ideas are by no means revolutionary, but they do seem to be missing in many marketplaces.
We’ve also tried to include ideas that are not too large-scale and intimidating to start. It’s always best to start small and validate your vegan business before investing more capital.
Keep in mind we live in Tasmania, Australia, so maybe where you live there is much more (or less) to choose from.
If you don’t fancy yourself an entrepreneur, maybe you know someone who would like to try to start a socially conscious business? Share this post with them to see if it piques their interest.
In any case, I encourage you to reflect on all of the occasions when you’ve struggled to find a specific offering that is vegan-friendly and think about how you can help solve that problem yourself.
Note: if you’re interested, we recorded a podcast episode breaking down vegan business ideas.
I’ve broken the list down by category to help filter through content.
Alright. Below is our list of 45 vegan business ideas to start this year.
Vegan food and beverages
Nine times out of ten, food is the first thought that comes to mind when thinking of starting a vegan business venture. Just look at the comments in this post. The majority of entrepreneurs are thinking about getting into food.
It makes sense. Access to good food is the greatest challenge when transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.
And even though vegan food businesses are experiencing crazy growth in markets like the UK, we still have a long ways to go to make plant-based food more accessible to people around the world.
There are two types of vegan food businesses. There’s hospitality and there’s a food product. It’s the difference between opening a vegan restaurant or catering service and developing the next great vegan cheese product to be on the shelves of supermarkets.
Hospitality is a tough gig that requires incredible skill, long hours and low margins. However, if it works, cafe’s, restaurants and food trucks create a community station of vegans and non-vegans to eat together and share experiences.
A vegan food product on the other hand is more scalable with better margins. But then it can be incredibly difficult to get your product onto shelves to be able to sell enough volume for it to be sustainable.
Let’s get into some examples of vegan food and beverage businesses.
- Vegan pie shop.
- Vegan dog treats.
- Nut cheese deli.
- The vegan version of Krispy Kremes.
- Start a vegan sushi restaurant.
- Vegan bakery.
- A healthy high-protein meat substitute.
- Vegan-friendly bar or nightclub.
- Start a food truck specialising in one type of food, e.g. kebabs, burgers, bowls.
- Local vegan wine.
We’ve seen many vegan food businesses come and go over the years, and it’s always sad to see a beloved ethical entrepreneur shut shop. To mitigate this risk, we suggest starting with a super small operation at a weekly market.
This allows you to test your concept and see how customers respond. Be honest with yourself and avoid delusion. If no one is buying your food, it hasn’t hit the mark. Get feedback on your food and improve your product.
From there you can slowly scale up to catering, a food truck then eventually a commercial space. But do it in stages, and take the time to build a loyal following. I wish you the best of luck!
An overlooked vegan business opportunity is within services. I can’t tell you how many times I needed help and struggled to find a professional who was also vegan.
Working with a service provider with shared values gives vegan customers reassurance and confidence to work together without being judged.
If you have skills in a particular area, a services business is one of the most affordable and quickest businesses to start. Let’s look at some ideas below.
- A freelance illustrator who services vegan-friendly small businesses.
- Company accountant or bookkeeper for online vegan entrepreneurs.
- Photographer servicing compassionate businesses.
- Project manager for organic and vegan shop fit-outs.
- Social media manager for vegan businesses.
- Copywriting services to help build the profile of vegan entrepreneurs.
- Study to become a health professional that serves the vegan community using natural cruelty-free practices.
- Start a salon offering and using only vegan hair care products.
- Become the first vegan car detailer in your area.
- Vegan personal trainer that specialises in high-performance athletes.
- Become a vegan-friendly vet (this one is lacking!)
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Vegan fashion business
Animal fabrics like wool, leather and silk are often associated with premium and reliable fashion pieces. However, over the last decade, vegan materials have become more innovative, accessible and sustainable.
As consumers become ecologically and ethically conscious, the demand for high-quality vegan fashion will only increase.
Previously, starting a fashion brand was costly and thus risky. You had to hit the market perfectly to justify ordering huge quantities of stock from suppliers.
Nowadays, you can work on one design at a time, and test your concept using crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indigogo—helping to reduce your risk and give you the confidence to scale.
It’s worth noting that vegan customers equally value fair trade practices. So where possible try to keep your production line local with relative wages to your area.
Here are some ideas for vegan fashion businesses:
- Online vegan sneaker retailer.
- Bamboo clothing line specialising in everyday essentials.
- Organic, fair trade and vegan line of jeans.
- Tailored vegan suits for men.
- Start a fun vegan sock company.
- Vegan activewear for specific sports.
Vegan education and media
One of the most common triggers for becoming vegan is usually based on education, be it a speech, a documentary or a book. For example, we became vegan after watching Earthlings, and our story is common.
The internet has made online education accessible to everyone. It’s never been easier to acquire creative skills in film, photography, design and writing.
Furthermore, creators are no longer at the mercy of book publishers, film studios or music labels. You can simply publish your work with the possibility of reaching an audience.
You can monetize your media through patronage, distributors, brand deals, affiliate commissions, advertising and products.
Or if you’re really ambitious, see if you can take a piece of the obscene amount of cash Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Apple are throwing at original content. Netflix for example is estimated to spend 19 billion on content in 2021!
One caveat. Because the barriers to entry for content is so low, you need to produce AMAZING content to cut through the noise. So be prepared to spend hours to become a master of your craft, or hire a talented team of creators to bring your project to life.
Here’s a few samples:
- Animated YouTube channel producing 2– 3-minute videos teaching people the truth about consumerism.
- A vegan-friendly childcare centre with a community veggie garden.
- Vegan wedding blog producing fantastic content and advertising ethical wedding brands and services.
- A science-fiction novel series with subtle vegan themes.
- Partner with your local education institutions and develop a vegan chef school certification.
- Produce a documentary-style podcast that captures the stories of animal cruelty, fair trade, and environmental issues.
- Start a vegan screenwriting business for feature films, television, commercials, documentaries and video games.
- Become a vegan comedian TikTok influencer.
Vegan technology business
Much like vegan education, we can use the internet to skill up in technology. Whether it’s learning how to code or working with developers, you have the potential to create the next greatest vegan app.
The software business can be incredibly lucrative and scalable hence the potential of attracting many investors and reaching the masses.
However, the tech world is insanely dynamic and you can fall as quickly as you can grow. So be prepared to duck, weave and adjust as market conditions change.
While tech know-how is important, the success of your startup is dependent on how well you reach product-market fit. I suggest you read the Lean Start-Up and apply the principles to developing your concept to give you the best chance of success.
This is the kind of ideas I had in mind for vegan technology based businesses.
- Create an app that facilitates the delivery of food from all the vegan food options in your area.
- Develop a dating app that accurately connects vegan soulmates.
- Create a concierge service in the form of a mobile app that connects all local ethical tradespeople with vegan customers.
- Design a line of solar-powered vegan-friendly smartphone accessories.
- Invent sustainable, vegan materials to be used in various industries.
- Design an interface that pulls vegan stocks and startups into one place.
Vegan cosmetics and beauty
Cosmetics have always been a massive industry, and the vegan segment of the market is benefiting. It’s predicted that the global vegan cosmetics market will be worth 27 billion by 2027!
Mindful consumers want cruelty-free, sustainable, organic beauty products without comprising on quality. At the end of the day, you need deodorants that prevent odour, makeup that enhances, skincare that helps your cells thrive.
What’s attractive about cosmetics and beauty is the consumable nature of the products. If you’re able to get customer loyalty, you’ll benefit from repeat purchases.
With all of that said, the beauty industry is brutal. You need to formulate the perfect product and at the right price point if you want any chance of success. You need to hustle at tradeshows, learn eCommerce and work with retailers to acquire customers.
Vegan customers are becoming increasingly sceptical about greenwashing, so make sure your communication and transparency of your supply chain and ingredients are airtight.
Here’s a few ideas in this area:
- Develop a mascara that is vegan, fair trade, organic and eco-friendly.
- Build a vegan-friendly and chemical-free nail polish company.
- Create an anti-aging line of vegan skincare.
- Develop a natural hair colour line that’s easy to apply and a varied colour palette.
What are your vegan business ideas?
I would love for you to share any experiences you have had with trying to find vegan businesses in your area. Also, share some success stories so others can learn from them in the comments below.
Other articles you’ll love:
- Spend More Money As a Minimalist Vegan
- 17 Topic Ideas To Help You Start a Vegan Blog (As Your Form of Activism)
- How To Go Vegan: A Guide On How To Transition To a Vegan Lifestyle
- Mindful Consumption: A 6-Step Guide To Consuming Better