70 new vegan trademarks in 2020 as manufacturers satisfy vegan trend
New research shows 70 new vegan food trademarks were filed in the UK last year as the popularity of vegan food continues to grow
New research by corporate commercial law firm EMW, has found that another 70 vegan trademarks were granted in 2020.
This follows a rising number of food manufacturers who are starting to cater to the vegan trend, with 265 vegan trademarks now registered in the food and drink sector in the last five years (IPO.gov.uk).
The number of vegan trademarks applications in 2020 is the second-highest on record, behind the all-time high of 92 in 2019.
As more people become vegan, and as the popularity of plant-based foods continues to increase, vegan food and drink is developing into a major market for food manufacturers. Particularly stand-out, is data that shows that European retail sales of meat and dairy alternatives have grown by almost 10 per cent per year from 2010 to 2020 (ING Economics, 2020).
According to Deloitte, the plant-based alternative market is set to grow from €1.5bn in 2018 to €2.4bn by 2025 in Europe, with the UK being the largest market.
EMW says that demand for new vegan foods is one of the main drivers of the rising R&D spend of the largest 30 food and drink manufacturers, which has grown 43 per cent from £4.4bn to £6.3bn per year in the last five years*.
These major food businesses have sought to protect their new vegan product lines with trademarks to stake out valuable intellectual property in a fast-growing market.
In November, McDonald’s announced it would launch a line of meat alternative product in 2021 called McPlant, while sausage manufacturer Richmond recently debuted vegan meatballs and mince. Burger King also recently announced that it would be launching a new vegan product.
The rise in demand for vegan products has made vegan food manufacturers attractive investment targets in recent years. This trend has continued in the last year, with French food conglomerate Danone acquiring US vegan brand Follow Your Heart, best known for its egg-free mayonnaise ‘Veganaise’ in January 2021.
In April 2020, UK coconut-based dessert maker The Collaborative raised $7m in Series A funding from US venture capital fund PowerPlant Ventures, which has previously backed Beyond Meat, now one of the largest makers of meat alternatives.
Daisy Divoka, senior associate at EMW, says “With greater consumer concern over food sustainability, vegan products have exploded in popularity in the last decade.”
“Those issues driving increased adoption of vegan diets are only going to become more pressing in the future. This trend still has a long way to run and will inevitably be influenced further by changes in our lifestyle as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Companies are seeing greater value in vegan products and are spending more on their development as well as protection for them.”
“Now, large players are spending money on developing new, vegan alternatives to animal products as the market continues to move in that direction. This means they are also having to invest more in protecting that valuable intellectual property through trademarks and patents.”
Trademark applications for vegan products 2015-2020
* R&D spend from 30 largest food and drink manufacturers with public accounts