Combining the words “vegan” and “January,” Veganuary is an annual challenge encouraging people around the world to switch to a vegan diet and lifestyle for the month. This entails abstaining from animal products including food, clothing and cosmetics. And while it may seem like a daunting task to many, a record 500,000 people signed up for Veganuary in 2021. Here’s the history and significance of Veganuary, as well as what some food and beverage companies are doing to take part in the challenge.
What is Veganuary?
The concept of Veganuary began as a conversation between husband-and-wife Matthew Glover and Jane Land, both ethical vegans, in late 2013. Searching for a way to inspire more people to stop eating animals, the couple founded Veganuary as a crowdfunded campaign in 2014 with four main aims: to increase participation, encourage corporate outreach, grow the global movement and increase awareness.
Veganuary also exists to promote veganism by breaking down misconceptions and presenting information in a friendly and non-judgmental manner. It teaches participants that there are many reasons to switch to a vegan lifestyle, including for ethical reasons, health benefits, for the planet or any combination of motives.
After eight years, the nonprofit and campaign has found resounding success. Since 2014, the number of people joining the Veganuary movement has grown substantially year over year. In 2018, 170,000 people signed up, representing a 183 percent increase from 2017. Signups for the 2019 event reached 14,000 per day, leading to a total of 250,000 signups by the end of December. By 2020, Veganuary welcomed its one millionth supporter.
With respect to businesses, hundreds of restaurants and grocery stores promote the Veganuary campaign and they have launched thousands of new products in the UK. However, the movement is not only limited to the UK, where it all began. Veganuary has reached 192 other countries, and it regularly partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote veganism to different cultures.
Aside from the charity’s significant influence on plant-based businesses, the results from its six-month follow-up survey of Veganuary 2021 revealed promising outcomes. A large majority of participants permanently reduced their consumption of meat, with 68 percent also reporting health benefits including more energy, better skin and improved mood.
What are Food and Beverage Companies Doing for Veganuary 2022?
This year, several high-profile companies, along with smaller brands, are launching new items and campaigns for Veganuary 2022. Participants will be able to partake in launches from the likes of Boursin, Chipotle and Domino’s, among others.
Beloved cheese brand Boursin announced it would be making a plant-based version of its iconic cheese spread to the delight of vegans worldwide. The launch of Boursin Dairy-Free Cheese Spread Alternative Garlic & Herbs came earlier this year, promising to embody the same original taste. And now, they’ve expanded to Costco stores across the US in extra-large 15-ounce tubs.
American fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill announced the launch of its Plant-Based Chorizo across its 2,700 US locations. It boasts the same flavor as the original chorizo, but it’s made with chipotle peppers, tomato paste, smoked paprika and pea protein. The vegan chorizo was trialed last year and is now available in three new Lifestyle Bowls: the Whole30, Vegetarian Bowl and Vegan Bowl.
Pizza chain Domino’s is expanding its line of vegan offerings for the month. The company dropped its PepperoNAY pizza, served with a vegan-friendly version of Domino’s much loved Garlic & Herb dip. The vegan pizza features the signature vine-ripened tomato sauce, Domino’s vegan cheese and a specially created vegan pepperoni alternative from The Vegetarian Butcher. The PepperoNAY pizza joins Domino’s line of vegan pizzas, including the Vegan Margherita, The Chick-Ain’t and Vegan Vegi Supreme.
On the sweet side, ice cream brand Magnum launched mini versions of its vegan flavors: Vegan Classic and Vegan Almond. Coffee lovers rejoice — Starbucks is launching three new oat milk beverages in the UK including Strawberry & Vanilla, Dark Cocoa & Orange and Honey & Hazelnut. Not to mention, a new plant-based pecan and caramel brownie — featuring chocolate chunks, caramel and caramelized pecans — is also on its way.
Those wishing to participate in Veganuary can visit the company’s website and sign up with your email address. You can also participate independently without signing up on the website. No matter the reasons and with so many ways to be vegan, Veganuary 2022 is likely to reach record heights.