Record Breaking Veganuary 2023
Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Almost a decade since its inception in 2014, a record-breaking 700,000 participants have signed up for Veganuary 2023, an 11.3% increase from last year . The number of participants for Veganuary in 2022 was 629,000, which was a 7% increase on those who signed up in 2021. The number of participants for Vegnauary has risen every year since its inception almost a decade ago . As a result, a You Gov poll has confirmed that almost 10% of the UK population has participated in Veganuary since 2014  , and 8% of UK adults have confirmed that they were already following a vegan diet .
The most common reasons for going vegan include animal welfare and personal health. However, environmental reasons are also a leading motivating factor that has influenced many individuals to reduce their meat consumption. Environmental documentaries have played a large part in influencing these changes. “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction” – Cowspiracy 
It appears that Veganism is not the only cause for an increase in meat-free meals. A recent study by Lumina Intelligence confirms that last summer, only 20% of restaurant dishes contained meat. Whilst the popularity of meat-free options has risen, this may in part be due to the rising costs associated with meat due to food inflation . It appears that the cost of food remains a primary factor that influences food shopping choices. A carbon tax on certain food types, such as meat and dairy, has been suggested previously. It is no doubt that meat consumption would fall further if, at the very least, VAT was applied to meat and dairy. In comparison, most meat-free options have VAT applied to them .
The top 5 countries by the number of sign-ups to Veganuary in 2022 were the USA, UK, India, Germany, and Italy . Although meat consumption is falling in the developed world, global meat consumption is on the rise . Therefore, it remains imperative that, amongst other solutions to tackling climate change (such as renewable energy), developed nations lead the way despite economic pressures to keep the status quo .
What Options Are Available This Veganuary?
Last year, McDonald’s finally boarded the vegan train with the ‘McPlant’ burger, made from Beyond Meat. However, this years efforts from Ronald McDonald have been rather uninspiring, with the only notable addition being the double McPlant burger. Fortunately, Burger King has turned up for the party and not with the carrot sticks and hummus. The ‘Vegan Royale’ is now a ‘Royale with Cheese’  (including ‘La Vie’ vegan bacon) that would have even Vincent Vega impressed.
Other notable product launches in January were:
- Aldi and Asda superstores have both launched ‘No Prawn’ sandwiches.
- Heinz launches vegan cream of tomato soup and plant-based beanz and sausages.
- Papa John’s launches their vegan take on a N’Duja pizza with the ‘Ve-Du-Ya’ pizza.
Government action on food production to tackle climate change is severely lacking at present as the focus remains on renewable energy. Campaigns like Veganuary, environmental documentaries, and social media remain the primary influence leading to the reduction in meat and dairy consumption. Record numbers of people have signed up for meat-free eating again this year, and this will be necessary for the fight to tackle climate change especially as global meat consumption remains on the rise.
Further information can be found on the Veganuary website https://veganuary.com/.
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 Dairy-free cheese.
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