Although COVID-19 may be leading the charge in changes to the wellness landscape, there are many other trends in society that are also having their effect on the spa, wellness and hospitality industries. One of the most prominent movements we have seen erupt into the mainstream in recent years is Veganism, and it’s taking the spa and wellness world by storm.
In the UK, a country which has seen the fastest growth in Veganism worldwide to date, non-animal retail sales are expected to hit £658 million by 2021 and the number of people identifying as vegans have quadrupled in just four years from 150,000 people in 2014 to over 600,000 people in 2018.
According to a 2017 report from GlobalData, the number of US consumers identifying as vegan grew from 1% to 6% in just three years. In India, which has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world due to Hindu beliefs, there are believed to be over 500 million vegetarians and at least 5 million vegans, although some still argue that the millennial concept of ‘veganism’ is still a more Western phenomenon.
Online, Google searches for ‘veganism’ have seen an increase of 580% over the last five years and in 2019, the term received five times more interest than ‘vegetarian’ and ‘cruelty-free’ searches combined.
Worldwide, the transition from vegetarian to vegan has been so profound that The Economist declared 2019 “The Year of the Vegan”.
Veganism: More Than a Lifestyle Trend
There is no doubt that there is a significant increase in consumer demand for products and services that come with an animal-free seal of approval. From the use of plant-based meat alternatives in the food & beverage industry, to animal-free manufacturing processes and natural, environmentally friendly materials that do away with anything animal-based, it has become clear that no industry is exempt from the winds of change.
In the hospitality sector, this demand has driven the creation of various vegan-friendly services and amenities. The Hilton London Bankside, for example, has created a fully vegan hotel room, created by Bompas & Parr (B&P). The room is made entirely from materials that are animal- and animal-cruelty-free, with a focus on naturally sourced materials over synthetics. It even features Piñatex vegan leather, made from pineapple leaf.
Many spa and beauty products also feature ingredients derived from animals that provide a specific property or add a specific texture. Even the most natural, eco-friendly products can still contain ingredients such as beeswax, honey or lanolin, a natural oil secreted by sheep.
Vegan products are free from all animal-derived ingredients, as well as any ingredients that exploit animals. Although vegan and cruelty-free are technically two different areas of thought, the line between is becoming increasingly blurred. Plant-based products tested on animals are also increasingly unpopular so it is important to check both practices when sourcing new products.
Veganism: Benefits for the Body and the Soul
Like many healthy food diets or lifestyle choices designed to improve wellbeing, a vegan diet is more than just a health choice. It is true that vegan diets often are attributed to better energy levels, thanks to the removal of processed meat that both unhealthy and difficult to digest, and that vegetable- and nut-rich diets boost your vitamin, mineral and fibre levels which in turn leads to more regular, healthy bowel patterns. But Switching to a vegan-based lifestyle has many benefits for the soul too.
The number one reason people switch to Veganism is actually related to animal welfare. The second reason is to do with the environment, as we understand more and more about how meat production has a huge impact on our global carbon emissions.
Health reasons still come in strong, however, with Vegan diets being found to promote weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, lowering the chances of getting certain types of cancer and helps manage diabetes by lowering A1C levels.
Veganism: A Spas Trend on the Rise
But whichever side of the fence you sit, if you’re looking to develop a spa offering, a shift towards the vegan market is a sensible choice and takes little effort. Spas already hold a strong focus on the wellbeing of their guests, so they have a perfect opportunity to adapt and modify their offering to attract the vegan guest. What is better still is that many of these changes will have no negative impact on non-vegan customers either.
Vegan spas give guests who are both vegan and not vegan to embrace an opportunity to enjoy a spa pampering session guilt-free. Many simply opt for veganism on a casual basis, rather than as a permanent lifestyle choice and a vegan spa package can kickstart a temporary – or even a permanent – change in lifestyle.
Many spas are now opting for brands and treatment partners that focus on vegan and eco-friendly products. From sustainably harvested plant-based beauty products to organic oils and scrubs that are vegan or even gluten-free.
Comfort Zone spa products are all suitable for vegans, using only natural-origin ingredients and avoiding all animal derivatives, silicones, mineral oils, parabens, artificial colours and any other ingredient which might be aggressive for the skin or the planet. Also, brands such as MuLondon, Arbonne and OrganicSpa, also offer fully certified vegan spa products.
At GOCO Hospitality, we even wrote about the new era of plant-based spa treatments back in 2019, which dug deep into the consumer behaviours and the intelligent designs of the animal-product-free spas and hotels of tomorrow.
Natural, healthy living is a big part of our ethos and drives the concepts that GOCO Hospitality creates for our clients. We have helped many spas and wellness destinations make a switch to a more environmentally friendly and animal-friendly service offering, as well as develop countless spa and wellness concepts that are in some way dedicated to a vegan guest market. Contact us today to find out more.