A quarter of a million people tried vegan, and almost half will stay vegan
It’s been an exciting year for vegans so far, with the introduction of Gregg’s infamous plant-based sausage roll, a plethora of new options bursting into restaurants, and the best Veganuary ever. After a long wait, the figures are in – what do they tell us about who went vegan, why, and for how long?
A record-smashing 250,310 people from 190 countries registered for the month-long vegan pledge, blowing previous years out of the park (168,542 in 2018). Like in previous years, the majority of sign-ups were women (87 per cent), most were meat-eaters (44 per cent) and a large number of people were in the 25-34 age range (21 per cent).
However, for the first time, health was the major motivation for people taking on the pledge, with 46 per cent signing up expressing hopes of improving theirs. Other reasons cited included for animals, with 34 per cent of participants stating this drive, and the environment, which garnered 12 per cent of participants.
Veganuary surveyed its participants and discovered that 60 per cent of pledgers thought that the challenge was easier than they had anticipated, and 51 per cent felt their decision to remain vegan was influenced by the discovery of tasty food. And it’s good news for all those who registered hoping for a health boost – 63 per cent of participants reported an improvement to their general health.
Whatever their age, sex and reason for taking part, Veganuary impressed its pledgers – a massive 98 per cent reported that they would recommend Veganuary to others.
Veganuary 2019 will certainly be remembered for the staggering number of new plant-based dishes and products launched by retailers and restaurants. Who could forget Gregg’s sausage roll, which skyrocketed sales – with the company’s annual figure exceeding £1bn for the first time ever.
Likewise, Pizza Hut had only expected to sell 10,000 vegan pizzas in January, but reported sales of 28,000 by the end of the month. Similarly, Sainsbury’s launched 25 new vegan products including seitan bacon, and jackfruit quarter pounders.
Whilst not everyone who took part said that they would remain vegan, a large number of people said that they were ‘extremely likely’ to try veganism again, and an exciting 47 per cent say they are committed to remaining vegan!
Such a high figure of new vegans and more than justifies the investment in vegan provision by manufacturers, brands and retailers – and it is clear that plant-based demand remains on the up.
Following the fantastic figures, Matthew Glover, co-founder of Veganuary, says: “What a year it’s been! More people than ever pledged to try only plant-based foods and we are grateful to every single person who took part and made such a positive change. Veganuary can be seen as a fun, new year challenge – and we really hope it is a fun experience for all! – but we never forget there are serious issues at stake. Climate change threatens irreversible harm, forests are being decimated, and oceans polluted, while animals suffer unseen in factory farms and wild animals are driven to extinction. Behind this destruction and suffering is animal agriculture.
“The good news is that we each have the power to protect our planet and its inhabitants with every plant-based meal we eat. That is why we are so proud of the Class of 2019, and why we, as a charity, will work harder than ever to grow the number of participants for Veganuary 2020, whilst maintaining a good ratio of people choosing to stay vegan.”
Figures provided by veganuary.com