05 Jan 2018 --- Veganuary has become the top trend in the UK for those looking to bring in the New Year with a detox, according to The Telegraph. The campaign has seen 140,000 sign-ups already this month and according to Simon Winch, Veganuary’s Chief Executive, the target for the campaign is 150,000 and they are already on course to beat that.
Last month our sister website, FoodIngredientsFirst reported on the campaign's first-ever US vegan campaign to encourage people to take up Veganuary was advertised on the Boston Subway. The eye-catching posters feature three of Veganuary’s celebrity and sporting Ambassadors: Sarah-Jane Crawford (pictured in the ad campaign below), Anthony Mullally and Dan Geisler, with each offering a different reason for taking the month-long vegan challenge: to help animals, to protect the environment and to improve health.
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Veganuary Ambassador, Sarah-Jane Crawford
Last year, Veganuary’s advertising campaign on the London Underground (UK) encouraged 10,000 Londoners to sign up for the 31-day plant-based pledge. This year, the crowdfunded adverts also featured in Manchester (UK) and Sydney (Australia) as well as in London and Boston.
The Veganuary campaign has seen 140,000 people around the world commit to going vegan, comes after the success of Dry January, a public health campaign prompting people to stop drinking for a month.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the number of people in the UK committing to eating a vegan diet this month has risen from 1,500 in 2014 to 52,000 in 2017, making the UK the biggest market in the world for the challenge followed by the US.
Speaking to NutritionInsight, Winch, says: “Supporters of Veganuary are overwhelmingly female. This is in large part natural bias, but is exaggerated as Veganuary markets to women disproportionately, because they’re more receptive to our messaging, as a whole.”
The main age groups participating in the campaign are under 45 and almost half (48 percent) are meat-eaters. “16 percent are vegan already – we discount these people when looking at what impact the campaign has had,” explains Winch, “22 percent are vegetarian and 14 percent are pescatarian.”
Half of the participants are from the UK, a quarter from the US and the rest from over 170 countries across the globe, including Canada, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.
The top reasons for people signing up were animal welfare (43 percent), health (38 percent), environment (11 percent) and other (8 percent).
“There are lots of factors that have boosted participation in Veganuary,” notes Winch. “Marketing is one aspect but veganism is becoming increasingly visible on social media, in newspapers and on the high street, and it’s much harder to ignore. Plus, there are so many more vegans now and they are amazing advocates for eating plant-based foods. They tell their friends and family members about it, and they decide to give it a try, too.”
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Dan Geisler advertising campaign
What about the comparisons with Dry January? “Dry January is usually about health, whereas people choose to try vegan for health, for the environment and for animals, and those compelling reasons when taken altogether may account for why so many people stay vegan afterward. Being vegan is not about depriving ourselves, it’s about choosing more ethical versions of the products we love, and that includes beer and wine,” he reveals.
Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Aldi are all releasing vegan-friendly ranges in support of people taking part.
It comes as Waitrose reported the five-fold increase in searches for vegan food on their website in the days running up to New Year and a number of other stores looking at investing in vegan ranges.
“Supermarkets are scrambling to keep up with demand, and we’re seeing new plant-based ranges being brought out all the time. It’s not uncommon now to find a dozen vegan cheeses and 10 vegan ice creams in a single store. Both choice and quality are booming, and it’s only going to improve over the coming year,” explains Winch.
Many restaurants and pizza chains now have a vegan option on the menu, such as Pret a Manger, and Pizza Express, for example. They want to make it easy for people to remove meat and dairy from their diets, without having to change their lifestyles too much in the process.
The campaign is also backed by some celebrities including Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton. American singers, Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus are both vegan all year round.
According to the Vegan Society, there are now 542,000 vegans in the UK, more than three times as many as a decade ago. Almost half are aged between 15 and 34.
By Elizabeth Green