To Buy or Not To Buy?

August 06, 2017 1 Comment

To Buy or Not To Buy?

So, what's your position on buying vegan products from companies that also offer animal-based products? After the recent purchase of Daiya Foods by a large pharmaceutical company that conducts animal testing, the negative backlash from many in the vegan community was palpable. This got me thinking: Is it enough to be supporting the vegan product without knowing the company behind it? Or should we be unequivocal about it and only support products whose entire mission is focused on a vegan mindset? 

Examples of Vegan Products from Non-Vegan Companies

While it would be nice to source everything from vegan, ethical, local, sustainable retailers, I've yet to find that kind of one-stop shopping experience in my city! Case in point, grocery stores. Even those that carry a wide selection of vegan offerings alongside beautiful produce almost inevitably carry meat and dairy products to cater to the masses. 

Another example is Ben & Jerry's, who launched a series of vegan ice cream flavors (with only two or available in Canada to date, much to my chagrin). Despite this, their bread and "butter" (sorry vegan friends, I couldn't help myself!) remains dairy ice cream. Further, they are owned by Unilever who owns a whole raft of brands that rely on animal products, such as Hellman's (although they too have a vegan mayo!). I'm by no means justifying the practices of Daiya Food's new parent company but why aren't we hearing the same level of derision against Ben & Jerry's and/or its parent company Unilever? 

Yet another example is Earth Balance "butter" alternative spreads. Earth Balance is owned by a company called Boulder Brands who also own a frozen food brand with meat and dairy options called Udi's. 

I'm sure there are countless other examples like this. I guess I'm pondering how easy it is to take a very polarized position that can then be somewhat discredited when other contradictory life choices are being made all the time! Again, there is no judgment one way or the other and I'm CERTAINLY NOT CONDONING animal testing in any way. I'm simply (trying to) suggest that if the line in the sand is drawn with parent companies that exploit or use animal products in any way, then it should likely be drawn in parallel for other products' parent companies (like those listed above).  

In my view, nothing is black and white. There are no absolutes. When it comes to choosing a vegan lifestyle, it can still be difficult to navigate among the non-vegan or animal-based products.I think the best that each of us can do is to be as informed as possible about the products and companies we're buying from and to, as often as possible, make the most ethical choices. I really do believe that every time we use our dollars for ethical and cruelty-free products, we are taking a vote against animal exploitation, regardless of whether that product came from a company that also happens to carry animal-based products.

SOULiers Studio's Footwear Selection

While so far at SOULiers Studio, I've chosen to exclusively carry brands that only make vegan shoes, I'm excited to mention that, in the Spring of 2018, I'll be offering a line of luxury vegan sneakers (stay tuned, they're so fun!) from a brand that also make leather shoes. You can rest assured that I won't be carrying the leather versions, of course, but this company has strong sustainability values across the board. I'm proud to carry their vegan line because I believe that they are nonetheless moving the needle towards ethical, sustainable fashion. More hints and sneak peaks on this new brand in the coming months!

That's my 2 cents. What's yours? 

xx and oo



1 Response


August 07, 2017

I try to not buy from companies that test on animals…even if it is a vegan/cruelty free off shoot (Aveda, Daiya, Toms of Maine). The fact that we still test on animals amazes me considering how far we have come with scientific and medicinal advancements. I refuse to buy Ben and Jerry’s based on the fact they are owned by unilever and the same will go with Daiya.

I choose not to support companies that use animal products or test on animals. That said, I don’t appreciate people judging me for my beliefs and so it’s hard to judge others without being a hypocrite.

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