Charity & Campaigns

Meatless Monday Celebrates 20 Years of Promoting Reduced Meat Consumption

Public health campaign Meatless Monday celebrates its 20th anniversary, commemorating two decades of promoting reduced meat consumption for the betterment of personal and environmental health. 

Founded in 2003 by advertising executive Sid Lerner and Dr. Bob Lawrence, the campaign combines a straightforward advertising approach with science-backed resources, advocating a simple idea – abstaining from meat one day a week can have a substantial positive impact.

“Meatless Monday launched at a time when no one talked about meat reduction as a public health and a climate solution”

Dana Smith, campaign director at Meatless Monday, reflected on the campaign’s journey, stating, “Twenty years ago, Meatless Monday launched at a time when no one talked about meat reduction as a public health and a climate solution.” 

Meatless Monday plant-based meatballs
© Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday’s open-source model, offering free resources and toolkits, has enabled institutions to launch their own campaigns, customizing them to suit their audiences. Over the past two decades, the campaign has gained widespread recognition, with media coverage from outlets like the Today Show, Good Morning America, the New York Times, and CNN. Celebrity endorsements from figures like Oprah, Beyonce, Sir Paul McCartney, and Michael Pollan have further amplified its reach.

Influencing the next generation 

An internal Meatless Monday survey revealed that over half of the surveyed Gen Z individuals, after becoming aware of the campaign, were influenced to curtail their meat consumption. These results echo those reported in a recent poll by Medical Inspiration Daily For Stronger Society (MIDSS), highlighting that the Gen Z demographic is currently the primary catalyst for growth of the US vegan market, with 70% of self-identified vegans expressing their intent to maintain their vegan diet in the next five years. 

Vegan chef Priyanka Naik expressed her gratitude to Meatless Monday, emphasizing that younger generations are eager to make a positive impact through plant-based choices. She stated: “Younger generations want to make a difference, and increasingly are going plant-based for their health and the planet. The simple concept of Meatless Monday gives them an easy, fresh way to do it.”

Bob Lawrence, founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and one of the creators of Meatless Monday, concluded, “To see a new generation embracing this campaign, going meatless once a week and changing the culture is a powerful testament to the original vision for Meatless Monday, and an incredible foundation for the next 20 years.”

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