What is Veganuary?
Veganuary, a portmanteau of the words ‘Vegan’ and ‘January’, is a non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of animal products. Many celebrities such as Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney, and Chris Packham are ambassadors for the campaign. Information on vegan recipes, nutrition tips, and special offers are provided by the campaign. Easy meal plans are also provided for those who are completely new to the diet or wanting to transition from vegetarianism.
As a result, many new and enticing vegan products are launched and promoted each January. 400,000 people signed up to the campaign in 2020. The record has been broken already in 2021 as thus far 500,000 have signed up (of which 125,000 are from the UK) which is double the number of those who signed up in 2019. Deliveroo have reported that they have seen a massive increase in demand with vegan takeaway orders increasing 163% compared to last year.
Why go vegan this January?
There are number of reasons for going vegan however the most common are for health and animal welfare. With 38% signing up in 2020 for reasons related to health and 37% signing up for animal welfare. Whilst the health benefits of removing or reducing meat from one’s diet are now widely known[4,5], and concerns over animal welfare have already resulted in changes to industry practice (e.g. free-range eggs), the environmental benefits of a vegan diet are lesser known. However, with 18% signing up in 2020 to reduce their impact on the environment, the outlook may be positive for consumer choice becoming an empowering option for those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.
It might be believed that eating produce produced locally is a comparative alternative to cutting out certain high carbon impact food products from one’s diet, however this has been shown to be falsehood. Even the ‘Times of India’ is promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet entitled ‘‘Life cycle analyses show a plant-based diet is most nutritious with least environmental impacts”. For those living in western and developed nations there are now plentiful consumer choices available that makes veganism or reducing meat in one’s diet less difficult than years previous.
What options are available this Veganuary?
Most famously Greggs’ vegan sausage roll, launched in 2019, remains a popular choice. KFC have relaunched their vegan burger which is made of Quorn and covered in their traditional crispy coating.
New products have been launched in many supermarkets and outlets across the UK. Aldi has launched over 20 new vegan products including a Pain Au Chocolat, No Chicken Kievs, and ice cream in either Salted Caramel, Chocolate Brownie or Peanut Butter flavours. Asda has launched 22 new vegan products including Steakless Bakes, Vegan Chicken Nuggets, Vegan Beef Strips, and Bacon Style Rashers. Asda have also been trailing a fully vegan butchers counter at its store in Watford.
Costa Coffee have launched a new vegan menu which includes Vegan BBQ Chick’n Panini, Vegan Lotus Biscoff Cheezecake, and a Vegan Latte+ drinks range with added vitamin B12. Burger King has even launched a bean burger, Papa Johns has launched two new vegan pizzas and vegan chicken bites, Taco Bell has launched ‘pulled oats’ as a taco filling. A footlong vegan sausage roll is now available in Iceland.
Finally, the most significant announcement has been from that of Wagamama’s who have not only launched new dishes (sticky vegan ribs, vegan chilli squid, no duck donburi, tofu raisukaree, tofu firecracker) but have also committed to make 50% of its menu meat free by the end of 2021.
There are many options available for those wanting to try a vegan diet as part of a new year’s change whether that be for environmental reasons or otherwise. Veganuary has already been a viable option for many this year with 500,000 signups thus far.
Veganuary supports those who sign up to try Veganism in January and beyond. All information can be found on their website https://veganuary.com/.
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