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Date Published: 15-12-2021

What is Veganuary?

Launched in the UK in January 2014, Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people to try a vegan diet for January and hopefully host the diet in their lives on a long-term basis.  With Essential’s range of vegan products and a trading ethos that champions this diet, we are always very excited when January arrives!

Although some might be daunted by switching to a totally vegan diet, there isn’t a need to be.  To make the transition to veganism as easy and enjoyable as possible, Veganuary provide all of the information and practical support needed.  The focus has always been on changing the behaviours and attitudes towards the diet and the stats speak for themselves. Since the campaign started, more than 1.5 million people have registered to try vegan, although data suggests that ten times more people actually participate in January each year!  If you’re feeling left out, then why not try it yourself by signing up here:

Anyone who does sign up receives continued support to aid them in maintaining the vegan diet.  The Veganuary website is full of ideas and creative vegan meal plans, while emails, social media campaigns and group memberships keep people digitally informed.  And it’s not only individuals that the organisation supports.  The campaign also connects with brands, manufacturers and retailers to encourage them to support plant-based food options.  In 2020, thousands of businesses took part in Veganuary, while more than 825 new plant-based products and menus were launched at many high street food retailers. 

The 2021 Campaign in Numbers

More than 580,000 people from 209 countries signed up to give vegan a try in Veganuary 2021.  As already mentioned, an estimated 10 times as many people usually take part in Veganuary than officially sign-up through the Veganuary website, which means over 5 million people gave vegan eating a go!

75% of those not staying vegan are reducing other diets by 50% or more and that’s extremely enlightening to hear.  93% of those participants who aren’t committing to stay vegan after Veganuary said they were ‘somewhat likely’, ‘very likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to try veganism again in the future, showing plant-based demand remains on an upward trajectory.

Veganuary is enjoyable. 98% of participants surveyed in 2020 said they would recommend Veganuary to others, and half of the respondents saw some improvements to their overall health, including improvements to their energy levels, mood, skin appearance and body weight.

40% of Veganuary participants plan to stay vegan.  The main reasons for taking part were: 46% for animal welfare, 22% for health and 21% for environmental-consciousness.

The Growing Vegan Market

The upward trend in the numbers adopting a vegan-based diet is reflected in the sector values.  Plant-based dairy grew from £300m in 2017 to £608m in 2021, while plant-based meat alternatives grew from £308m in 2017 to £616m in 2021.  What’s more, the untapped vegan food market is worth an estimated £130 million, so get thinking of something creative!

6.6 million households purchased vegan-specific ranges in February 2021 and Veganuary undoubtedly helped sales of those products grow by 23% compared to the same period in 2020.

The meat-free market in UK supermarkets is worth £527.1 million and the Vegan Society forecast that the market will be worth a staggering £5.2 billion by 2025, unsurprising when YouGov data suggests that one in twenty Britons (5%) attempted to go vegan in January 2021.  3% already have a plant-based diet, and among 18-24 year olds, 6% are already vegan while a further 8% participated in the Veganuary in 2021.  Vegans make up a small percentage of the population, but they are part of a wider group experimenting with meatless or meat-light diets that accounts for over a fifth of Britons (22%).  Approximately a third of the population (34%) agree that they’d like to reduce their meat and dairy consumption and Veganuary is helping to boost public perception and reach new customer bases.  And as for 2022 - over 600,000 people from across the world are expected to take part.

How exactly does Veganuary support the participants?

Veganuary helps people learn how to go vegan by providing support through a structured one-month pledge.  All pledge participants get a free celebrity e-cookbook and the Official Veganuary Starter Kit, as well as daily recipes, nutrition, meal plans, tips on eating out and ongoing support through a 31-day email series during their pledge month. A Facebook group with a supportive community full of people making the transition at the same time, or who have already done Veganuary in previous years, is also included.  The organisation works hard to ensure that there are as many retailer special offers as possible that participants can take advantage of.  And most importantly, the pledge and all of Veganuary’s support is totally free - all you need is an internet connection. 

Veganuary 2022 campaign dates

Between the launch on 8th December and the end of January, exciting new content on the website and social media channels will be released.  New products and menus will be available, plus information of who’s supporting the drive.  One highlight of the 2022 campaign will be Veganuary’s first animated ad!  Featuring a loveable legend bound to make a big impression, the ad will highlight how easy and delicious cutting your carbon footprint can be with the help of Veganuary.  The heart-warming ad will premiere in cinemas across the UK on Boxing Day and run until 1st January.  Another exciting development for 2022 is a continued international expansion.  A new campaign is being launched in India to amplify the work with partner organisations there over the past few years.  A US office is introducing a new pledge series aimed at engaging America’s Latino community with content in Spanish, and the organisation will also be partnering with like-minded NGOs around the world to support everyone trying vegan in January.

To conclude, the Veganuary team perfectly summarise why we should embrace the campaign,

“Catastrophic climate breakdown and global pandemics could not be more serious, but they are not inevitable.  If we all act now, the future can be better.  So, we’re going into 2022 with positivity and a determination to do all we can to protect our planet, its wild spaces and the health and wellbeing of all its inhabitants.  To do that, we must change our diets.  Veganuary exists to help make this change as easy as possible.”