London: Indian-born businessmen Shandip and Ketan Shah are scoring it big in Britain with a new vegetarian condom that has proved to be a runaway success with health stores.
The brothers' Fusion condoms are manufactured without any milk-based casein - unlike other brands - and have now been officially registered with Britain's Vegan Society.
All new Fusion condoms packets will carry the official vegan logo - a move that the Shahs hope will persuade more British youngsters to use condoms.
'Vegetarians and Vegans might not have realised that there is a milk extract in most condoms. Fusion condoms want to help this group make an informed choice about safe sex,' said Shandip Shah, managing director of Fusion Condoms.
'New figures show teenage pregnancies are yet again on the rise. We believe contraceptives must be made more widely available to break this trend - which is why Fusion condoms are targeting fashion shops, budget shops, health food shops as well as just chemists,' Shah told IANS.
The brothers, who run a pharmacy in Baker Street, London, said 30 health food stores have already placed orders to stock Fusion condoms as a result of their new vegan status. With many more placing orders it is the first concerted drive by a condom brand to establish vegan-friendly condom sales in health food outlets.
One of London's biggest Indian grocery outlets, Dhamecha Cash and Carry, has also agreed to stock Fusion condoms in all five of their depots.
Britain is home to three million vegetarians and 180,000 vegans - strict vegetarians who don't eat any dairy products - a substantial proportion of the British population.
And with their numbers increasing, particularly among young people, both health food shops and budget shops have begun to diversify their products range to offer customers a one-stop shop.
John Krahn, a director at the Haelan Centre health food shop chain, said: 'Because we have a large vegetarian client base and work a lot with vegan groups, I think it's very important that we are able to stock vegan condoms.
'We aim to be a one-stop shop for our customers, and the reality is that there's a lot of need for condoms. We want to make sure our customers can buy one that meets their ethical criteria.'
Fusion condoms are also designed for more environmentally aware customers, which again often means young people - the condoms are wrapped without the use of cellophane and have their instructions printed on the reverse of the cardboard packaging, eliminating the need for surplus paper inserts.