Veganuary: planting the seeds for future gains
In a very short space of time, Veganuary has caught the public’s imagination and scored widespread popularity points.
The global pledge to try vegan for 31 days, is celebrating a huge milestone – more than one million people have officially taken part since it began in 2014. Some famous participants among the million include TV presenter Jasmine Harman, actor Peter Egan, wildlife presenter Chris Packham, actor Rebecca Callard, rock legend Brian May and ‘dragon’ Deborah Meaden.
Reflecting on the one million milestone, Matthew Glover, co-founder and chair of Veganuary, says: “When my wife Jane and I decided to launch a new year’s vegan pledge in 2014 we expected only 1,000 people to take part. More than 3,000 signed-up and we were blown away. Now Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas, reflecting the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food.”
He adds: “One million official Veganuary participants in just seven years is a huge achievement, but the momentum behind the plant-based revolution will see us hit two million in no time.”
Driving this growth is not just a rise in followers and the backing of celebrities but also the marketing of Veganuary. The Veganuary campaign, as well as TV programmes and documentaries, certainly help increase awareness and interest in the benefits of a plant-based or meat-free diet, but year-round, there are consumers who follow a flexitarian diet and often choose to eat meat-free for personal health and environmental reasons, according to EHL Ingredients’ food trends for 2021.
According to the business, meat-free and plant-based foods are set to continue their popularity during 2021. Brands will also continue to invest in vegan versions of existing products as well as continue to drive the momentum – as the following list of product releases demonstrates.
Violife, a leading vegan brand, announced it will be an official sponsor of Veganuary 2021. The partnership comes as demand for vegan alternatives to cheese are at an all-time high.
Plant-based food brands Fry’s and Oumph! also announced themselves as official sponsors of Veganuary 2021.
Bright Barley, one of the newest alternative milk brands and the only UK range of vegan Shakes, has risen to the challenge of enlisting signings by proactively marketing its range of ready-to-drink trio of flavoured ‘mylks’.
Tapping into the recognition of immune-boosting drinks, award-winning brand Gusto has released Super DC to deliver a daily vitamin boost and keep immune systems intact during the chilly winter months.
CSM Bakery Solutions is encouraging bakers to gear up for Veganuary 2021 and generate additional sales by creating a range of bakery products that appeal to all ages and tastes using its range of vegan friendly products.
The perfect beer for Veganuary comes courtesy of SEVEN BRO7HERS who has introduced a limited edition ‘Don’t Milk It IPA’, vegan milkshake.
A new range of vegan sweets from Bebeto have come to market just in time for Veganuary that are Vegetarian Society vegan approved.
Increasing the vegan offer has been an important priority for the food and drink industry. Over the last two years, demand for vegan and vegetarian food has increased substantially. It appears there is more to veganism than it being yet another consumer fad. Brits, however, still need convincing.
Research of 2,000 adults revealed the top foodstuffs Brits would miss if they were to adopt a plant-based lifestyle as part of Veganuary. Cheese topped the list with 56% selecting it, while one in six couldn’t give up pepperoni on a pizza. Another 48% would find life really difficult if they were to eliminate eggs from their diet entirely, while nearly a quarter couldn’t do without cream.
It also emerged that if attempting Veganuary, the average Brit estimated they would only reach the 8th January before succumbing to their old favourites like cheesecake or a chicken curry.
Despite these concerns, a fifth are considering taking part in 2021.
But one in 10 have tried in the past and buckled before getting to the end of the month, with the average failure coming on the 12th of January.
Catherine Lloyd, from Elmlea Plant, which has teamed up with So Vegan to create plant-based recipes ahead of Veganuary, and commissioned the research, said: “It’s fascinating to see that such a big proportion of the UK population is planning to take part in Veganuary this year, but that many don’t expect to make it even halfway through the month.”
However, the food and drink sectors have made sure that going vegan doesn’t have to mean missing out – vegan alternatives have come a long way and a lot of the foods people would miss by going vegan now have really great alternatives that are indistinguishable in terms of taste.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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