From meat to dairy to eggs, every sector of food has its own uber-powerful lobbying arm, there to promote the industry’s interests with politicians and the public. Vegan food, however, has long been on its own. Until now.
The Vegan Trade Council is the first-ever industry association designed to represent the interests of cruelty-free companies.
Based just outside of Washington, DC, the group got off the ground in January, and on April 15th it’s launching an Indiegogo campaign to garner financial support for its ambitious efforts.
Alan Nemeth, a professor of animal law at the American University Washington College of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law, was inspired to create the organization based on the issues he deals with in class.
From United Egg Producers to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, every other group has its own arsenal of support. “It dawned on me there’s nothing for the vegan industry as a whole,” Nemeth says.
He, along with Director of Marketing Rose Weitzner, MD, are working hard to spread the word about the Vegan Trade Council. The group is rapidly gaining interest and support, with brands like Tofurky, Tofutti, Go Max Go and Chicago Vegan Foods all on board with its creation.
Eventually, the Vegan Trade Council will represent the industry’s interests legally and legislatively, and help to promote brands. It’ll argue on behalf of vegan foods when it comes to public health, the environment, school lunches, dietary guidelines and more.
“Hopefully down the road we’ll get to do some original research that would benefit the vegan industry, that would inform consumers,” explains Nemeth. “We plan to build our website into a resource for the public. If they have any questions about companies or vegan products or nutrition we want to build that into a go-to source. Eventually we’ll be a voice for the industry—the press can contact us, legislators can contact us if they need information.”
The company is launching the Indiegogo campaign April 15th in order to raise start-up capital and to start promotional efforts. Right now, the group is volunteer-based, but if the Indiegogo campaign is successful, they’ll be taking things to the next level.
As far as the Indiegogo effort, the Vegan Trade Council has a massive stash of perks they’ll be doling out. Supporters have offered up hundreds of books, products, coupon codes and more.
“We have 60 authors and publishers participating—literally hundreds of books ready to go. We have 37 companies either providing product or discount codes that we’ll be using in the campaign.”
Given the heavyweight status of the meat and dairy industries and their pull with politicians, it’s about time vegans had a voice.
“Part of what our goal is going to be is to spur along the mainstream acceptance,” says Nemeth. “The more vegan products get used and eaten the less amount of animal-based products and that benefits everything from the planet to the animals to individual human health.”
You can show support for the Vegan Trade Council by liking its Facebook page. Stay tuned there for the Indiegogo campaign, which will launch April 15th and run for around 45 days. Have that debit card handy!