Veganuary turns 10
Veganuary celebrates its tenth anniversary this month and to all intents and purposes has raised the consciousness of veganism.
Veganuary expanded into space in 2023 by sending a flag bearing its logo to the International Space Station where it orbited Earth 4,400 times – a historical first for a vegan campaign. This landmark event coincides with Veganuary’s 10th anniversary as the very first pledge took place in January 2014.
Whether it has re-defined Europe’s culinary landscape is open to debate but I would put forward that in the decade since first launch, veganism in this form has changed dramatically. No longer a source of feeling like an awkward inconvenience, even local corner shops sell plant-based food and drink.
Not one to miss out on a trend, celebrities around the world are going vegan. Veganism is no longer a fringe movement but is now firmly in the mainstream thanks in part to vegan celebrities but primarily because of Veganuary and its try it and see campaign.
Inspired by environmental and ethical concerns, people from all walks of life are adopting a plant-based diet. Reaching audiences of millions via social media, the rising number of plant-based vegans has helped to reach new audiences like never before.
Those who have wondered whether depriving themselves of great pleasures have taken the decision to lead as normal a vegan life as possible – being strict in checking whether food and drink was vegan.
The movement has also been helped by food industry giants like Wagamama and Beyond Meat joining a campaign calling for UK restaurants to make 50% of their menus plant-based by 2025.
Although the initiative is not similar to Veganuary, it would, no doubt, like to mimic its success – which saw 700,000 people sign up to Veganuary’s vegan pledge for January 2023.
Veganuary isn’t for everyone. Extreme vegans see it no more than a marketing exercise, however everyone has to start somewhere. If the 31-day challenge brings on a great feeling of accomplishment, what’s wrong with that? The positive momentum it generates can, and has been, leveraged in different ways such that the food and drink supply chain is thinking differently about a more lasting or permanent change.
The truth is, Veganuary is an option, rather than a commitment, that is more acceptable to the majority. The try-and-test-it method shows people swapping meat for plant-based products isn’t as difficult as some may think.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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