Veganuary, the global campaign encouraging the public to try vegan for a month, is today celebrating the milestone of passing over a million signups since it began in 2014, starting life in the kitchen of Matthew Glover and wife Jane Land, who at the time were hoping to raise just a thousand.
Since that time, Veganuary has made a huge impact. This January, KFC sold one million vegan burgers in the first month they were on sale – equivalent to one being sold every three seconds. The number of customers ordering Pizza Hut’s vegan option almost doubled, and according to Deliveroo, orders of vegan dishes almost doubled when comparing the number in January 2019 and January 2020.
Encouragingly, Waitrose found that consumers in the UK were still following vegan diets after January, with sales of vegan up 13% in February this year compared to the year before.
Joaquin Phoenix, Romesh Ranganathan and Paul McCartney have all urged people to take part in Veganuary, helping official participant numbers grow year on year from 3,300 in 2014 to 400,300 signing up in 2020. Kantar research suggests the number of people who have ‘done Veganuary ‘ without officially signing-up is actually ten times greater.
Reflecting on the one million milestone, Matthew Glover said: “When my wife Jane and I decided to launch a new year’s vegan pledge in 2014 we expected only 1,000 people to take part. More than 3,000 signed-up and we were blown away. Now Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas, reflecting the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food.” He added: “One million official Veganuary participants in just seven years is a huge achievement, but the momentum behind the plant-based revolution will see us hit two million in no time.”
Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s International Head of Communications, says: “Veganuary started simply to get people to try vegan for one month and see how they feel. Most participants say it’s much easier and more enjoyable than expected, and on average half decide to stay vegan while others permanently cut back on animal products. And that is the real impact of our campaign – creating a long-term demand for plant-based food and an incentive for businesses to change. Last year many struggled to keep up with the huge demand for vegan options and this year looks set to be even bigger.” She added: “At a time when many feel helpless about the state of the world, Veganuary offers people a way to take positive action. Reaching the one million milestone in the middle of this pandemic shows it’s exactly what many people need right now.”