Veganuary sets a new participation record with more than 700,000 sign-ups in its tenth year of encouraging people to eat vegan for January.
While U.S. sales of plant-based meat declined 14 percent by volume for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 4, 2022, interest in plant-based food is proving to be anything but a fad as Veganuary reported another banner year.
With participants from nearly every country, the U.K.-based Veganuary campaign broke its 2022 record, up more than 12 percent, with nearly 707,000 people taking part, the group said.
According to the final tally, the only two countries without participants this year were Vatican City and North Korea.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see Veganuary’s participation and influence continue to grow around the world,” Veganuary’s Head of Communications Toni Vernelli said in a statement.
Much of the buzz was driven by Veganuary’s growing roster of celebrity backers. This year saw Peter Andre, Diane Morgan, Lucy Watson, and Alexis Gauthier, among others, lend their voices to the campaign.
Countries are also increasing their involvement, with official Veganuary campaigns taking place in Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, and Mexico. The campaign says it plans to add ten more countries by 2027.
The #Veganuary tag was used more than 1 billion times on TikTok this year; the campaign also saw more than 300 million people engage across its social media channels during the month of January.
Numbers may be even higher still, officials say. Not all participants who go vegan for January officially sign-up with the campaign, the campaign says. According to a YouGov survey, while 4 percent of U.K. respodents said they participated in Veganuary this year, a survey from last year found than 9 percent of Brits reported participating since the campaign’s launch in 2014.
“These figures provide an exciting glimpse into the broader public participation in Veganuary and its influence as a social movement,” the campaign said.
Vegan food sales
The increase in participants stands in contrast to recent headlines touting lagging U.S. plant-based meat retail sales and claims that the sector is a passing fad. A slew of articles has suggested that companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have not been successful at redirecting meat consumers toward plants.
But other experts say the recent dip in sales is normal — something called an “S-curve” that sees sales level out before spiking to widespread acceptance. A study published last October predicted a tipping point for plant-based alternatives within the next decade.
“History is littered with examples of technological products and services that were adopted with the famous ‘S‑curve,’” wrote Dr. Catherine Tubb, Director of Research at Synthesis Capital, which published the report. “This adoption shape is ubiquitous, with products as diverse as refrigerators, cars, color TVs, and smartphones all showing that same familiar S-shaped curve.”
Veganuary has undoubtedly played a critical role in propelling the category forward; scores of brands hold their new product launches for January to coincide with the campaign.
While those launches have historically been U.K. focused, that wasn’t the case this year. In the U.S., Target launched a 34-item vegan range from TikTok sensation Tabitha Brown. 7-Eleven brought a vegan egg breakfast sandwich to hundreds of stores across Canada, and oat milk to nearly 100 coffee stations in Sweden, and Singapore’s Tindle launched six new products in 6,000 stores across Germany — among a number of other notable launches and partnerships worldwide.
“As people become more aware of the incredible impact our food choices have on the health of our planet, attitudes towards veganism are changing everywhere,” Vernelli said. “[A]nd Veganuary’s friendly, non-judgemental, just-give-it-a-go-for-a-month-and-see-what-you-think approach has undoubtedly played an instrumental role in this shift.”