Veganuary

Veganuary 2021 has had the largest pledge since it’s beginning in 2014. More than 500,000 people signed-up for the 31-day vegan challenge, surpassing the 2020’s total of 400,000. So exactly what is this and who or what is Veganuary?

Inspiring and supporting more than one million people in over 192 countries to try a vegan diet in January. It’s a non-profit organisation encouraging and supporting Veganism. They have worked with businesses to drive up vegan food provision in shops and restaurants, and have made veganism more visible and accessible by working with national and international media. Matthew Glover is the co-founder of Veganuary. After 17 years of working in the window and door industry, his priorities and focus changed when he became vegan in 2011. With a drive to reduce animal suffering, Matthew used his business and marketing skills to launch the Veganuary campaign in 2014 with his partner Jane Land, a former English teacher turned animal campaigner. Today he continues to guide the charity along with a team of very talented and dedicated trustees.

Not just for January, but throughout the whole year, Veganuary encourages and supports people and businesses (large multinational corporations and smaller high-street retailers alike) to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving the health of millions of people. Its website providing: great recipes, interesting articles, workplace challenges and eating guides, as well as helping to fund and support projects.

The UK is now officially the world leader for vegan food launches. Mintel reports that around 16% of new food products released in the UK in 2018 were vegan, which more than doubled the previous years’ output. (Veganuary is cited as being behind this up-swing) In 2020 more than 600 brands, restaurants, and supermarkets promoted the campaign and launched more than 1200 new vegan products and menus in the UK market alone. Products like: Gregg’s Vegan Steak Bake, Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni Pizza, KFC’s Vegan Burger, and Subway’s Meatless Meatball Marinara.

Perhaps the biggest landmark is that British supermarkets have embraced and promoted Veganuary this year more than any other, even advocating the reasons to try a vegan diet. It’s truly game-changing in taking the trend mainstream. As retailers vie with one another to bring out bigger and better vegan products and menus to capitalise on the huge popularity of Veganuary. Now cynic’s could say that, they are simply using it as a marketing opportunity, but I think that would be a bit unfair. As the bastions of the food supply chain, they do know and understand that the most sustainable way forward is plant-focused. And their involvement as well as the endorsement of the medical world has encouraged more people to take up a vegan diet or to at least be more open-minded than previously. Many more people are interested in giving it a go.

Having been a vegetarian on and off since a teenager, I know how difficult it was to find affordable, tasty vegetarian food both in supermarkets and restaurants at times, vegetable lasagne and nut roast been the only uninspiring offering on the menu. Today, the variety is huge and its no longer a take it or leave it attitude to non-meat eaters. It’s quite exciting to see how so many changes have happened!

Aldi has a webpage that not only highlights its plant-based products but also sets out the main reasons to try a vegan diet: caring for animals, staying healthy, being greener and more sustainability. It also features dozens of vegan recipes, tips on vegan swaps and a link to Veganuary’s website. Asda also has a dedicated webpage that explains what a vegan diet is and highlights three of the reasons to try vegan: it’s better for the environment, it could improve your health and it’s delicious! It also features their top vegan product picks and encourages people to sign-up for Veganuary. Tesco has launched its first Veganuary TV and radio ads. It also has a dedicated webpage with recipes, product highlights and tips on making vegan swaps. M&S also releasing its first Veganuary TV and radio ads and produced a 31-day Veganuary meal plan with ideas for making plant-based eating exciting every day of the month. Morrison’s launched a £25 Veganuary Essentials box filled with much-loved vegan favourites to help give your January a kick-start. It also dedicated a Veganuary shopping page on its website featuring all its plant-based products.

As, we come to the end of January, did you try the Vegan diet? If so, I hope you enjoyed it! If not, there is still a whole year to make changes to your diet, not just a single month. So possibly a couple of small changes or baby steps, once a week? 

See https://veganuary.com/  for some great ideas!

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