Veganuary is the enormously influential vegan campaign which almost needs no introduction – it’s difficult to find any vegan or non-vegan who isn’t aware of the incredible work done by this charity, which asks the public to try vegan for a month, and hopefully more.
Veganuary started life in the kitchen of Matthew Glover and wife Jane Land, who at the time were hoping to raise just a thousand signups, but this year the number surpassed a million sign-ups, meaning a million people around the world have taken the pledge to go vegan for a month. Because of this: 103,840 tonnes of CO2eq have been saved; 6.2 million litres of water have been saved, and an amazing 3.4 million animals did not lose their lives.
So for this, on behalf of us and on behalf of the animals and the planet, we say thank you to Matthew and Jane (who together also founded Million Dollar Vegan) and to Toni Vernelli, International Head of Communications, who kindly took the time to tell us all about Veganuary 2021.
What are some of the most exciting things we can expect in Veganuary 2021?
One of our most exciting projects this year is an open letter signed by international superstars, politicians, environmental NGOs, athletes and business leaders highlighting the link between climate change, pandemics and our diets. In the letter we’re urging everyone to make 2021 the year of positive change and try vegan in January with Veganuary.
We’ve also filmed a fun and funny ad with one of TikTok’s top 10 influencers that embodies the philosophy behind Veganuary. It’s sure to get people talking.
In which countries are you operational at the moment and in which do you have the most success?
We have people running campaigns in the UK, US, Germany, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, plus we partner with organisations that run Veganuary campaigns in Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and India.
The UK is still where we have the biggest presence and impact, but I think that is simply because we have been active there for seven years and the other countries are all quite new.
Consumer perception of plant-based products has changed dramatically this year, especially in the wake of the pandemic – How will this affect Veganuary 2021?
We’ve already seen it having a huge positive impact on our sign-up figures. Shortly after the pandemic took hold we saw an increased interest in home cooking and eating more healthily. Our sign-ups now are up 100% on where we were this time last year and we’re already nearly half-way to our sign-up target!
You have already reached the milestone of 1 million signups – What are your hopes or targets for the next years?
Our sign-up target for this year is a whopping 500,000! It’s amazing to think it took us seven years to hit a total of one million signups and now we might get half that amount in just one year! Beyond 2021 is hard to predict but I expect we will continue to see increasing participation in the US, Latin America and Asia.
Veganuary is expanding into Brazil and Argentina – Why these countries and what has been the resonance so far?
We chose these countries for several reasons. The launch of our campaign in Chile last year was a huge success, demonstrating a huge appetite for diet change in this region. And because the typical diet in South America is higher in animal products than a typical diet in Western Europe, every person we help to try vegan there saves more animals and has a bigger protective impact on the planet.
What are your personal predictions for the vegan market will develop in 2021?
I think we will see many more vegan versions of classic foods and household brands being launched. We’ll also continue to see a rise in the number of plant-based fish alternatives being brought to market.
Where do you see Veganuary in five years, do you have a personal mission or goal?
We would like to keep expanding into new countries and regions as well as growing our campaigns in our existing countries outside of the UK. In five years it would be amazing to see our US, Germany and Latin American campaigns as big as we are now in the UK!