Vote for Veggies: Veganuary Deepens US Focus with a Chunk of New Launches for 2024
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In a bid to amp up its US reach, Veganuary USA is entering more partnerships with restaurants, retailers and brands to come up with new products and dishes this year. It’s also launched a Vote for Veggies campaign, after commissioning a YouGov survey of Americans eating vegetables.
It’s that time of the year.
You’ll see the pink V sign more than ever, as supermarkets and restaurants highlight words like ‘vegan’ and ‘plant-based’ (even if that isn’t the best way to go) to capitalise on the boom in people trying to eat no animal products for the month of January.
While the UK – Veganuary’s home market – is always a hotbed of activity, the campaign is doubling down on its US focus this year with a host of partnerships across both retail and foodservice, alongside a poll and campaign that focuses on vegetables.
The new US launches for Veganuary 2024
For 2024, Veganuary USA is working with restaurants, retailers and brands across the nation to cater to what’s expected to be another record-breaking year of signups. Among them are Divine Chocolate, SimplyProtein, Salt & Straw, Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Just Salad, Rush Bowls, Gyro Shack and Hard Rock Cafe.
There’s an increased focus on pizza too, with chains like &pizza, Sizzle Pie and Mellow Mushroom all launching Veganuary specials. The latter is bringing back its Miss Mushroom vegan pizza, which features spinach, minced garlic, portobello mushrooms, caramelised onions, chives, and vegan mozzarella and feta from Follow Your Heart. “Mellow Mushroom has long embraced veganism and other dietary lifestyle choices and needs, and Veganuary is the perfect opportunity for people to discover just how delicious eating a plant-based diet can be,” says Anna Mejia, VP of brand development at Mellow Mushroom.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s vegan deep-dish pizza maker Kitchen 17 has introduced a range of plant-based pan pizzas that are available for shipping nationwide. There are seven options and three gluten-free versions with house-made ingredients like vegan pepperoni and cheese.
Many brands are also running supportive campaigns via in-store promotions and social media, including Wicked Kitchen, Greenleaf Foods, New Seasons Market, London Drugs, Hart House, Jimbo’s in Southern California, Ritter Sport, Vitacost, and many more. “Vitacost is excited to celebrate this ever-growing ‘holiday’ with special offers and inspiring content to help participants and anyone else interested in eating more plant-based,” said Guy Burgstahler, business lead at Vitacost.
Veganuary asks you to Vote for Veggies
In addition to these partnerships, Veganuary has launched its 2024 campaign PSA, Vote for Veggies. In a video voiced by Ryan Eggold (New Amsterdam/The Blacklist), the health- and nature-focused campaign urges people to choose vegetables to “reduce emissions, improve health, lower food bills, protect animals, and promote healthier ecosystems”.
In line with this, it has declared purple sweet potato as the Vegetable of the Year, which was selected by a panel of food futurologists, chefs, and members of key nutrition, retail, and sustainability councils based on five criteria: growing popularity, versatility, sustainability, health and nutrition, and affordability and accessibility. “This upgrade to our loved traditional potato has been gaining in popularity,” says Holly Adrien, Natural and Organic strategy and innovation manager at Kroger. “Not only is the purple sweet potato versatile and a visual upgrade to any dish you make, they are an upgrade in nutrition as well, high in fibre, vitamins A and B and packed with antioxidants.”
It comes on the back of research commissioned by Veganuary and carried out by YouGov, which revealed that 71% of the 1,242 Americans polled are hoping to eat more vegetables in 2024. It’s reflective of the wider food landscape in the US, where the focus on ultra-processed foods has been high and plant-based meats have been criticised for their long ingredient lists. It has resulted in brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat promoting their American Heart Association-certified meat alternatives with cleaner ingredient lists to appeal to consumer needs.
“More and more people worldwide are choosing to try vegan – many also stay vegan long-term, for animals, the planet, and their health,” says Sandra Hungate, US director at Veganuary. “All the new vegan menu items, products, and recipes promoted during Veganuary allow for people to eat more plants without giving up the foods they know and love.”
Veganuary has now released its first cookbook, which has over 100 recipes. And it collaborated with The Space Collective to launch a flag bearing its logo into space last year, spending 275 days and orbiting the Earth 4,400 times.
Toni Vernelli, the campaign’s communications head, says: “It’s amazing how the presence and acceptance of veganism has grown around the world in the past 10 years and I know Veganuary’s friendly, non-judgemental, just-give-it-a-go-for-a-month-and-see-what-you-think approach has played an instrumental role in this shift.”