More than half a million people took part in Veganuary 2021 worldwide and over 60,000 of those were from India. As a result of this, from January 2022, the country will be an official campaign hub for the movement. India joins the U.K., U.S., Germany, Chile, Brazil and Argentina as global hubs, and is the movement’s first Asian outpost.
Veganuary was founded in 2014 by Matthew Glover and Jane Land as a movement that asks people to try a vegan diet for 31 days during the month of January. Participant numbers have increased steadily over the past few years, with 2021 sign-ups double those of 2019. India is aiming to increase the numbers further. With its 60,000 sign-ups last year, the country took third place in the global Veganuary rankings.
Bringing in ambassadors
As a Veganuary campaign hub, India has partnered with the Ahimsa Trust. A non-profit social development enterprise, Ahimsa (which means non-violence in sanskrit) spreads messages of non-violent transformation. Underpinned by sustainability ethics, it is a natural fit with the Veganuary movement.
Soundarya Sharma, renowned Hindi film actress and Veganuary ambassador, launched the start of the 2022 Vegnauary India campaign, saying: “In these testing times, eating vegan is the best way to take care of yourself and your family. If all Indians adopt a plant-based diet, we will be healthier and reduce national mortality by 23 percent. Shifting to a vegan diet is also the single biggest way to address the climate emergency, as it helps cut your carbon footprint up to 73 percent.”
Joining the ambassador program are mountaineer Kuntal Joisher, actor Sadaa Sayad, and pro basketball player Arvind Krishna, amongst others.
Delivering the vegan message
India’s Veganuary country manager, Prashanth Vishwanath, comes from a background in conservation and animal rights. In a statement about India becoming a new campaign hub, he said: “Our health and the climate emergency is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. One key solution is to address both is eating vegan. Indians have shown great interest in plant-based nutrition in recent years. We are thrilled to officially launch Veganuary in India and help people explore this interest. Signing up to Veganuary makes transitioning to vegan much easier as our free pledge is full of helpful tips, advice, and useful material.”
Participants will receive a celebrity cookbook, meal plans, nutrition guides, and coaching emails. Materials have been designed to make eating vegan food uncomplicated and pressure-free.
The impact of Veganuary
Veganuary’s campaign reports showcase the power of the global plant-based movement. Pertinent figures include more than 825 new vegan products being launched ahead of last year’s event. 98 percent of those who tried the 31-day challenge would recommend other people take part. 209 countries and territories were represented and more than 580,000 people pledged to take part. In contrast, the second event, in 2015, garnered 12,800.
New product releases ahead of 2022 have started trickling in. Last month, Lindt announced that it has created two oat milk-based chocolate bars ahead of Veganuary. The smooth and hazelnut flavors will be released at the beginning of next year.
Earlier this year it was revealed that 85 percent of those who took part in Veganuary 2021 planned to make permanent lifestyle changes. 40 percent of the positive respondents pledged to turn vegan. The remaining 60 percent vowed to drastically reduce their meat intake by at least half. The movement is hoping to improve on these numbers in 2022.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.