The one-month vegan eating campaign is converting people around the globe, and drawing attention to the health and sustainability benefits of adopting a plant-based diet year-round.
Yes, Veganuary (pronounced “vee-gan-you-air-ee”) is very much a thing. What began as a small campaign in the UK has become a world-wide movement. According to the official Veganuary website, more than 629,000 people signed up to go vegan for the month of January 2022, with millions taking part in veganism-centered activities and communications.
Partners Jane Land and Matthew Glover started Veganuary in 2014 to promote vegan eating by pledging a meat- and dairy-free month. Their campaign quickly had 3,000 supporters, so the founders turned that interest into a charity supporting the vegan lifestyle. The annual promotion of Veganuary is just the beginning of a year-long push to gain more converts to vegan eating.
As new practitioners of Veganuary shared their pledges on social media and the movement soon gained a number of celebrity endorsers, its influence spread. Just as the founders hoped, exposure to “going vegan” for one month encouraged many Veganuary participants to maintain their vegan practices throughout the year.
Adopting a plant-based, meat-free diet has become more mainstream, and food producers and retailers are offering more types of alternative proteins. More than 1,540 new vegan products and menu options were launched during the month of Veganuary 2022 alone, according to veganuary.com. ISH is doing its part to encourage Veganuary by making delicious, plant-based seafood options available on college campuses and restaurants nationwide.
For personal and planet health
The Veganuary movement sprung from its founders’ commitment to protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving the health of millions of people. Veganuary addresses environmental concerns by adding to the growing call to “fight climate chaos with your fork.”
Maintaining a plant-based diet can help the environment in several ways. First, it can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of meat and dairy products. By substituting alternate proteins for seafood or meat, you can take a step toward reducing your carbon footprint.
Additionally, a vegan diet requires less land, water, and energy to produce than a diet that includes meat and dairy products. This means that switching to a vegan diet can help to conserve resources and reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment. Finally, a vegan diet can reduce deforestation, as many rainforests are being cleared to make way for pasture and cropland to feed livestock.
This year, make Veganuary more than a month
Veganuary has been credited with increasing awareness and interest in a vegan diet. A survey conducted by the Vegan Society in 2020 found that the number of vegans in the UK had increased by 360% over the past decade. In the United States, according to some statistics, six percent of US consumers claim to be vegan – up from one percent in 2014.
Anecdotal evidence supports the claim that many who participate in the Veganuary challenge end up continuing to eat a primarily plant-based diet. A survey conducted by Veganuary in 2020 found that 42% of participants planned to stay vegan after their pledge month ended. And 84% of the respondents said they found it easier than they expected!
If you are interested in switching to a plant-based diet for any number of reasons, a challenge like Veganuary is a great place to start. And it doesn’t have to be in January, or even for a whole month. Start at a pace that suits you, knowing every plant-based substitution you make can contribute to a healthier you, and planet.