Following months of anticipation, the Virtual Ceremony of the second International V-Label Awards took place on the 3rd of November, ringing in World Vegan Month with a celebration of plant-based innovation worldwide. This year’s Finalists and Winners range from realistic camembert alternatives to wall paint. Plant-based leather, egg alternatives, and seaweed stole the show at this year’s International V-Label Awards Ceremony. 

60,000 people voted for their favorite innovation

While the entries in the 15 niche categories were scored by a panel of media and industry experts, a public voting period with over 60,000 votes determined the results of the Special Consumers’ Award, and an Influencer Jury panel consisting of 15 international vegan content creators had their say in who won the Special Influencers’ Award.

Celebrating an ever evolving plant-based landscape – not just for humans

«We’re on the verge of entering an age where the fear of giving up cheese will no longer be a valid argument for not going vegan – not with bettermoo(d)’s camembert and cream cheese range, anyway,» says Nikolett Konkoly, Program Manager of the International V-Label Awards. The exciting vegan cheese range from Austria – previously known as Vbellabio – won the Best Dairy Alternative category, but it was a tight competition with ALDI’s Funky American Vegan Style ice cream, LIDL’s Vemondo Mozzarella sticks, and daš Pops’ organic ice cream – designed for babies and kids – finishing close behind.

Dog owners concerned about their pup’s health (or their estimated carbon paw-print being bigger than that of an SUV’s emissions in a year, as a 2009 study suggests) will be delighted to hear about VEGDOG’s innovation. The complete dog food range developed with veterinarians offers an alternative so great, it was selected as Winner of the Best Meat Alternative category – over some excellent human treats, such as Verdino’s Mortadella with pistachio, Greenforce’s Easy To Mix Meat, and Orwell’s premixed legume-flour blend.

Plant-based leather, egg alternatives, and seaweed stole the show at this year’s International V-Label Awards Ceremony

The latest superfood: seaweed

Sustainable, versatile, and full of nutrients: it’s no wonder seaweed is one of the brightest stars of the plant-based skyscape right now. While Alver’s Golden Chlorella range ended up as a Finalist in the Best in Sustainability category, Bettaf!sh stole the show in the Best Fish Alternative category. The German startup known for their funky style and passion for turning seaweed into tuna alternatives was a finalist in two categories last year already, but bagged the winner title this year with their TU-NAH spread. Finalists in this category include LIDL’s Vemondo Fish Fingers and the Vegan Fisherman range of fried seafood alternatives.

No need to give up on indulgence or health

There’s a recurring dispute regarding the raison d’etre of honey in a vegan’s diet, to which Vegablum offers a sweet, cruelty-free solution: Wonig – a honey alternative made from fair raw cane sugar and pure plant extracts – won the category of Best Breakfast Meal. Following closely are Gullón’s Zero dorada al horno sugar-free biscuits, and MINIT’s vegan hot-dog as Finalists. The Best Ready Meal category boasted appetizing innovations as well, including traditional, veganized dumplings by Kasnudl and a vegan sushi collection by Natsu as Finalists, and Der Vegane Flammkuchen with onion and “schmecht” as the Winner. There was no shortage of sweets and snacks either: Viči’s BIO gyoza and chickpea dumplings were awarded Best in Confectionery and Snacks, while Inproba’s vegan prawn crackers and Paddies’ peanut butter snacks were the runners-up.

The two Winners of the Best Functional Food category, the Betwelve Unicorn chewable tablets by Les Bio Frêres and Moon Powder’s Superfood for women are right up our alley for a balanced plant-based diet, while Finalist Schalk Muehle’s organic, sustainably produced pumpkin seed protein powder will put an end to the outdated jokes about vegans and their protein-deficiency. Another tie happened in the Best Free From category, with both Slendier’s Konjac Range of noodles, pasta, and rice, as well as the Gimber N° 2 Brut alcohol-free concentrate with ginger emerging as winners of the category, triumphing over DODONI’s oat-based Plant’d yogurts by just a few points.

Seaweed is one of the brightest stars of the plant-based skyscape right now

Vegan leather that’s truly plant-based

Two strong contenders turned heads among the jury with their leather innovations: Turkish brand Oleago has created Oleatex, a versatile leather made by upcycling waste from the olive industry, which won over the Influencer Jury, taking home the Special Influencers’ Award. Desserto’s cactus-based leather from Mexico was just inches off the podium, finishing as a Finalist in both the Best in Sustainability category and the Special Influencers’ Award.

Crack it, whip it, fry it

This year’s favorites include the uncanny egg alternatives in the competition: they have the familiar texture and flavor, but no battery cages, and up to 70% fewer resources are needed for them to land on our plates. Neggst’s unbelievably realistic egg alternative finished as a Finalist in the Special Influencers’ Award, while Migros’ V-Love The Boiled, a fantastic hard boiled egg substitute, scored the award for the most innovative product. Yumgo’s perfectly whippable egg white, yolk, and whole egg alternatives were recognized as a Finalist in the Best Ingredient Innovation (B2B) category, but this award eventually landed on Givaudan’s doorstep for their unique technology mimicking real meat fat, Primelock+. In the same category, the coffee waste-turned-cosmetics-ingredient by Coffe-eco was a strong contender as well, finishing as a Finalist.

Vegan in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom

The Awards weren’t short of non-food competitors, either. Cleanly’s Eco laundry strips won the Best Household Product category, closely followed by Boonco’s Honest Dishwash, and Just Vegan’s CeraVegan pans with a completely vegan coating. The stars of the Best in Textile category were mattresses: rose and nettle mattress ticking from Boyteks Tekstil (Winner), hemp from Reiter, and handmade bedding equipment by Alma Natura, along with Vossen’s hemp and recycled towels, the Mystic, Belief, and Balance ranges. The Best in Cosmetics category saw the recognition of VeganCare’s solid shampoo and conditioner bar range as the Winner, and the B e C – Lait SolÉ Tanning sun milk and D’Alba – white truffle first spray serum as Finalists. Adding to the variety of vegan products, Kraft’s Master Easy Clean premium indoor paint made it among the Finalists of the Best in Innovation category.

«V-Label International Awards perfectly show how diverse and dynamic the vegan market is»

Leading by great examples

The Best in Positive Impact category put some truly outstanding brands in the spotlight: Funky Forest’s 100% pressed juice range from Hungary bore the palm thanks to their education and donation programmes, but Vossen’s Balance hemp towels and LIDL’s climate-neutral Vemondo range were high up there as well as Finalists. Maybe a surprise to some, but the Winner of the Best in Sustainability category was Oeding Print’s special vegan printing service, developed specifically upon customer request. LIDL Germany also involved consumers in the development of their Vemondo range, which might be the reason it’s loved by so many: the range won the Special Consumers’ Award for the second year in a row. The Finalists, Incom Leone’s Al!ve Energy Drops and Greenforce’s Easy to Mix Meat were very close behind as well, though.

An inspiring celebration

«Our second International Awards perfectly shows how diverse and dynamic the vegan market is, with participating brands ranging from emerging start-ups bringing innovation to the market and doing what we couldn’t imagine possible just a short time ago, to big retailers expanding their range and introducing vegan products to consumers who might otherwise not consider or try them,» commented the founder of V-Label, Renato Pichler, during the Ceremony.

To learn more about these exciting plant-based innovations, check out the Awards website, and keep an eye out for the Finalist and Winner labels next to the well-known V-Label when shopping for plant-based goodness.

About V-Label

V-Label is the world’s leading vegan & vegetarian trademark, mainly in the foods and cosmetics sectors. An internationally recognized brand registered back in 1996, V-Label is present in 50 countries, where more than 50,000 products have been certified as vegetarian or vegan.

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