I support vegan businesses any way I can.
One of the ways you might want to do that is by finding vegan companies to invest in, and add them to your portfolio.
While you don’t have a ton of options when it comes to vegan companies that are publicly traded, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of your options.
You basically have 4 options to invest in vegan businesses, based on your budget, and level of risk/reward that you’re after.
- Invest in private vegan businesses/startups – These are typically smaller companies that are either just starting up, or have a bit of success. Almost all companies start here. It can be hard to find these, but there are a few ways (that I’ll go over below). These are the highest risk and reward because you’re getting in the ground floor.
- Invest in a public vegan company – There aren’t many vegan public companies, but there are a few that I’ll go over (Beyond Meat should also be coming soon).
- Invest in a public semi-vegan company – Some companies own several brands, some of which are and aren’t vegan. Not my preferred option, but you can consider it.
- Consider investing in companies starting to support veganism. They sure aren’t vegan, and it’s not an option I love, but many dairy or animal agriculture companies are starting to invest in plant-based alternatives. These companies aren’t for or against veganism, they’re just responding to consumer demand.
Option #1: Invest in Private Vegan Companies and Startups
It’s tricky to invest in private companies (not listed on the stock market).
Startups and small businesses need money to launch or grow, but can’t go public. So they either turn to angel investors and venture capitalists (which are typically millionaires), or to crowdfunding platforms.
Investing in these companies is an option, but most investors don’t know about it.
On crowdfunding platforms like Wefunder (which is awesome), you can invest in any (reasonable) size and buy equity of vegan companies you like (note that not all companies there are vegan). This method is time consuming, and there are limited opportunities to invest, but there are some.
A few people have launched startups to connect vegan businesses that need investments to vegan investors (that don’t need to have a ton of money to invest).
To explain how they work, let me breakdown the most promising one (in my opinion) in more detail.
VeganLaunch: Invest In Vetted Private Vegan Companies
VeganLaunch was created in 2018 by Mark Winstein, who has decades of experience in the finance industry.
Its goal is to not only help investors make money, but to help vegan businesses succeed.
Here’s how it works:
- Vegan investors sign-up (like you and me) – There are packages whether you have $10,000 or hundreds of thousands to invest.
- VeganLaunch sends you opportunities to invest in private vegan companies who need funding. They find vegan startups who need funding (or accept applications), and do due diligence to weed out obvious bad investments.
- If you want to invest in an opportunity, you’ll buy equity through VeganLaunch’s platform – This is also convenient, since you can do all your investing through one platform/account.
When I was first looking at VeganLaunch I had a few questions that you might share, I actually had a chat with Mark to get the answers, so here’s what I found out.
Why do you have to pay to see investment opportunities?
For some other investment services, you don’t pay to see opportunities, you pay a commission when your money is money is invested.
That leaves a lot up to the integrity of the service. Their motivation can often become skewed toward convincing you to invest in ways that make the most commissions for themselves, even if the opportunities they present are not the most appropriate for you.
VeganLaunch does it the other way. Your membership fee is the only thing they charge (no charge for actually investing), which pays for their staff to not only find vegan businesses to invest in, but to vet them and only bring you the highest quality deals.
You always have a choice to invest or not, and how much you want to invest. It doesn’t change how much they make, so their staff can focus on finding the best opportunities possible with no ulterior motive.
Are there any investment guarantees?
If you do end up investing in any companies that VeganLaunch brings you, there’s of course no guarantee that it will succeed (like just about any other investment). But it will be vetted, which should increase your returns over time.
Keep in mind that investing in private companies is higher risk/higher reward scenario than investing in a public business. Many new businesses fail, but maybe you’ll find the next Beyond Meat and make a killing. Be smart about your risk threshold, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Can You Invest in Beyond Meat?
That might be a question on your mind, and something I’m personally interested in as well.
Update: Right now, the answer is yes!. However, Beyond Meat launched their IPO on May 2nd, 2019, after hiring J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for an initial public offering (IPO).
I’ve put together a Beyond Meat investing information page if you’d like to learn how to invest in an IPO, or just stay updated on Beyond Meat’s progress.
Long story short, if you don’t have access to investing in IPOs (most people without hundreds of thousands and who aren’t active traders can’t), you’ll need to wait until it’s listed on the market to the general public.
This usually happens about 7-10 days after an IPO (so May 9-12).
Option #2: Publicly Traded Vegan Companies
This is probably my preferred option for investing, but there’s also a limited amount of companies that fall into this category.
The companies below aren’t necessarily outspokenly vegan, but they only sell vegan products as far as I can tell, and are listed on a public stock market.
Most of these came to my attention from Måns Ullerstam from Kale United (who help grow vegan businesses), so a quick thanks to him as well.
These are in no particular order.
Stock Exchange: NYSE
Ingredion doesn’t make food products directly, but they are a massive company that supplies certain ingredients to food manufacturers.
This includes, oils, sweeteners, starches, and grains, among other things.
Most importantly, all their products are plant-based. It’s tough to find specifics, but I believe they don’t use any animal products either.
The company was also named as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere (and for the 6 years before as well).
Stock Exchange: NYSE
Bunge owns several brands which sell oilseeds, grains, and sugarcane across the globe. They all appear to be vegan-friendly as far as I can tell.
They seem pretty transparent and focused on the environment and sustainable practices.
Stock Exchange: STO (Stockholm Stock Exchange)
It’s a bit hard to tell from their website, which is loaded with nonsense buzzwords, but AAK sells oils and fats.
Their products do appear to be vegan, but I’m not super confident about that. They likely are, but I’m not 100% sure.
They do focus on sustainable and responsible sourcing, which are very much in line with vegan principles.
Note that AAK is on the STO. If you live in North America or somewhere beyond Europe, you can still invest in it if you want, but only certain investing platforms will let you. A quick call to whatever bank you use is the easiest way to find out.
Stock Exchange: STO (Stockholm Stock Exchange)
This is the coolest company in terms of what they do in my opinion.
SenzaGen’s purpose is to make it possible to eliminate animal testing for allergenic tests. They make a big difference in the cosmetic, dyes, and pharmaceutical industries.
It’s another one listed on the STO, so you might need to contact your investing bank and find out if you’re able to buy stock.
Stock Exchange: STO (Stockholm Stock Exchange)
Listing: SIMRIS ALG
Again, Europe is leading the way in plant-based foods.
Simris makes vegan omega 3 supplement from algae, which is the best plant source of omega 3s. They make a few other algae-based products.
Their packaging and branding is beautiful, so hopefully they will do well in the future.
Option #3: Semi-Vegan Publicly Traded Stocks to Invest In
Again, there aren’t many vegan options in the stock market, but here they are.
If you’re new to investing, you’ll need to set up a trading account on a platform like Vanguard.
1. Tofutti Brands Inc. (TOFB)
Tofutti makes soy-based, dairy-free frozen desserts.
Note that while most of their products are vegan, not all of them are.
It’s an over the counter stock, so you can buy shares in it, but as you can see from the chart above, they haven’t done so great in recent years.
2. Hain Celestial Group (HAIN)
The Hain Celestial Group owns several “natural” and organic food companies. You might recognize a few:
- Celestial seasonings
- Earth’s Best
- Health Valley
- Hain Pure Foods
- FreeBird chickens
- Plainville Farms (Turkey)
HAIN owns several vegan companies, but also own companies who slaughter chickens and other animals. So you’re not strictly supporting vegan companies if you invest in HAIN, but I’ll leave the decision to you.
3. Pinnacle Foods (PF)
But as you can see there are plenty of non-vegan brands that they own as well like Duncan Hines and Mrs. Pauls.
That’s really it for even vaguely vegan-related public companies right now. Unfortunately, investing and veganism are more or less mutually exclusive for now.
Option #4: Buy Stocks in Companies Who Are Starting to Support Veganism
If you’re okay with the idea of investing in Hain Celestial because a large portion of their business is vegan, you might be able to apply similar logic to other businesses.
Here are some companies on the public stock market who are ramping up their investment in vegan-friendly products:
- Danone – Known for their non-vegan yogurt, but has invested large amounts into plant-based facilities recently.
- Tyson – Has made a significant investment in Beyond Meat, and has created a $150 million capital fund to invest in plant-based startups. As I write this it seems strange to really consider Tyson (one of the largest chicken slaughterers) as anyway related to veganism.
- Campbell’s – Joined the Plant Based Foods Association, and has launched new vegan products.
- Unilever – Parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, who has recently launched several vegan ice cream products.
None are vegan, lets be clear about that, but clearly see that the future is plant-based and will hopefully transition more and more of their business to vegan-friendly activity.
Summary of Vegan Investment Options
I’m far from an expert investor, but I’ve spent quite a few hours doing research for this post to make sure it covers all your options.
Personally, I feel that investing in smaller, private companies that truly embody vegan ethics is the way to go (for now at least). Maybe even go to local vegan businesses and ask about investment opportunities if you have the motivation.
Full disclosure: While I mentioned VeganLaunch originally without any sort of affiliate link because I think it’s a great service, at some point I’ve become an affiliate, meaning I do get a small commission if you end buying their services. I’ve tried to be as impartial as possible and laid out what they offer as clearly as possible so that you can form your own opinion.