Veganuary, the U.K.-based campaign encouraging people to eat vegan for the month of January, has just hit the 1 million supporter mark since its inception in 2014. The achievement is testament to the growing plant-based trend, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has sent consumers all over the world looking for healthier, more sustainable and safer alternatives to animal foods.
Announced on Monday (October 26), Veganuary has welcomed its one millionth participant joining the movement to try veganism for 31 days. Since the campaign first began in 2014, it has attracted the support of big names, including television presenter Jasmine Harman, actor Peter Egan and renowned wildlife presenter Chris Packham.
Harman, who took part in the first-ever Veganuary six years ago, broadcasted a video message congratulating the charity on the milestone. “I feel very proud and very privileged to have been with Veganuary from the start and to be one of their ambassadors,” she said.
In its first year, Veganuary attracted just 3,300 supporters, but it quickly rose to fame as plant-based foods have come to garner greater spotlight in recent years as consumers begin to couple the environmental footprint and health impact of their food choices. The one million total includes the record-breaking 400,000 participants that joined the movement this year, a jump from the 250,000 figure in 2019, and 170,000 in 2018.
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.Matthew Glover, Co-Founder & Chair of Veganuary
The real figure is likely to be much higher than one million, given that people around the world are believed to have taken part in the event without signing the official pledge online. A significant number have also continued their plant-based diet after the month of January. According to research conducted by data insights firm Kantar, the actual number of people who have participated without officially signing up is around ten times higher.
Commenting on the milestone, Matthew Glover, the co-founder and chair of the charity, said: “Now Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas, reflecting the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food.”
“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.”
Signatories to the pledge have come from every single country in the world apart from North Korea, Vatican City and Eswatini. In 2020, the most growth in supporters was recorded in Latin America, followed by India – two major markets where plant-based foods have experienced a surge in demand.
All over the world, consumers have been shifting towards plant-based foods more than ever before, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, which has exposed the vulnerabilities and dangers of the animal meat supply chain. With the trend firmly in the mainstream, food giants have been scrambling to tap into the market – the latest research shows that almost 40% of the biggest food manufacturers and retailers in the world now have dedicated plant-based teams.
Plant-based meat makers have also celebrated a big win in Europe just last week, when EU leaders prevented a proposal that would ban plant-based alternatives from using “meaty” terms like sausages or burgers on their labels.
Lead image courtesy of Quorn.