We reckon independent & well regulated accreditations are important & we’ll keep on pushing for higher standards with everything we make & do. That keeps things interesting for the lab & helps make for better products. It also means there’s always something we can be working on.
All Fill products have been registered with the The Vegan Society for a few years now & so we figured it would be cool to catch up with Nishat Rahman, Brand Marketing Officer for The Vegan Trademark to ask her more about how it works. Check out her answers below.
Fill us in on The Vegan Trademark?
It’s The Vegan Society’s product labelling scheme. It’s been helping people identify that a product is free from animal ingredients since 1990. Registration with the Trademark gives brands the confidence to shout about their vegan credentials, and makes vegan shopping simpler for consumers (whether shopping for themselves or vegan friends & family). Look out for the Vegan Trademark on over 58,000 products worldwide, including cosmetics, clothing, food, drink, household items & more.
The Vegan Trademark hit 50,000 registered products in Spring last year so we were all super excited to hit that milestone. Every year we see a greater variety of choices for consumers wanting to include more vegan options in their lifestyle, making it more accessible (and often more affordable) than ever before!
Fill was created to help eliminate single-use plastic packaging. Any tips to help reduce waste?
Gradual changes! Don’t throw out things you have that still work, to replace with a more ‘sustainable’ choice – this is counterintuitive and gets costly. As you run out of products, look to replace them with low waste alternatives one at a time. It will be much less overwhelming and more sustainable. Also, keep hold of your old bottles; whether that’s from toiletries, washing up liquid or medicine bottles, and especially any dispensing pumps – these can all be reused for your refills like Fill Refill’s range of eco laundry, household cleaning and personal care products!
Who is your low/zero waste hero?
Apart from Fill whose ethos, branding and products I’m a fan of, Sophie from ‘A Considered Life’ is another low/zero waste hero of mine. Her advice is always practical with an emphasis on making slow and accessible changes in order to be more sustainable, in a way that works for you as an individual. From vegan and low-waste household and skincare swaps to advice on living zero waste when your family doesn’t want to. Her blog, IG and TikTok are full of great tips, how-to’s and good product recommendations and always presented with style.
How does the process of certifying a vegan household product work?
We ask brands to complete a product form, listing all the raw materials that make up each product they are registering. From then we will ask further questions about the origin of those materials. For household products, a lot of these are chemical based, or synthetic, therefore we also need to know what raw materials are involved in the synthesis, and sometimes these can be animal derived. Once we have all the necessary information and can accept each raw material, we register the product. Brands are also required to sign a declaration for no animal testing. It’s a thorough process with lots of back and forth, so we can give consumers the confidence that The Vegan Trademark is the gold standard for vegan certified products.
We like the idea that working towards official accreditations helps us to research, question, understand & improve what we do. We sometimes see products displaying icons that resemble the official Vegan accreditation. What’s your position on this?
Ensuring the integrity and value of the Vegan Trademark is incredibly important to us so that customers always have confidence in our recognisable sunflower mark. We have a misuse team who are diligent in ensuring that the Trademark is used correctly, by those who have the right to, and that other vegan certification or self-certification marks are not too similar as to be confusing to customers.
Why do you reckon it’s important to get official accreditation?
There is still no legal definition of ‘vegan’ when it comes to product labelling. Products are therefore open to being mis-labelled – either by companies misunderstanding the definition or wanting to gain access to a vegan audience without doing the groundwork. That’s why we introduced the Vegan Trademark back in 1990, and why third-party accreditation is so important for consumers.
Whilst it’s a little easier to instantly spot which ingredients in a food item are suitable for vegans, this isn’t always the case when it comes to other items like cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaning products or the materials, glues, dyes and treatments often used in our clothing and shoes. The Vegan Trademark is crucial in giving consumers the comfort and assurance that we have covered all grounds and thoroughly checked ingredients and processes.
The Vegan Trademark team also works collaboratively with companies who are ready to reformulate their products to meet our standards. Often, we are active in helping to bring more vegan options to the market.
What Vegan certified product would you recommend?
Fill Wash Up bag-in-box, peppercorn! The 5/10L options are super practical (if you have a little extra storage space). You can purchase them with a Fill 500ml glass bottle to keep refilling, or you can do what I’ve done. I saved a brown glass medicine bottle and a pump dispenser from an old shampoo bottle, thoroughly cleaned them out and repurposed them to make a wash up dispenser that can be topped up when needed. It’s a good way to make use of what you already have, reduces waste, saves money, and looks pretty too!
Food-wise, I’m loving Krispy Kreme’s three new Vegan Trademark certified doughnuts they launched in time for Veganuary 2022. The Fudge Brownie Bliss is my favourite!