Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Will Veganuary be more popular in 2021?

The various lockdowns and months spent at home have changed the eating habits of many of us. Some people got into baking, whereas others tried out new recipes. For a lot of people, spending time in the kitchen has become somewhat of a new pastime and a way to try new things in the safety of our homes.

Veganuary has inspired more than one million people to try veganism for the month of January since they first launched the initiative in 2014. With a free selection of recipes, tips and advice, it’s the perfect opportunity for anyone who is considering veganism to give it a try. With the pandemic still around for the foreseeable future, at least definitely for the month of January, how will Veganuary be different this year?

This year, Veganuary had predicted to have a record number of participants with a target of 500,000 signatories. This goal has already been met with more than 500,000 people from all over the world signing up to take part. 125,000 of these are from the UK and for the first time ever, supermarkets such as Tesco have even advertised the event. 500,000 is double the number of people who signed up in 2019. So why has this year in particular caused many to try veganism?

More people have been trying out some form of plant-based protein

During lockdown, an estimated 15% of Brits reduced their diary and egg intake and 20% have reduced their meat intake. I think the main reason for the increased interest of veganism and plant-based foods has been due to the fact that most of us have had quite a bit more free time than usual.

As bad as the pandemic is, we always need to try to look for the positives. Having the time to look into interests which you otherwise wouldn’t have has been a blessing for so many people. Having the extra time has meant that lots of people were trying out more plant-based foods or experimenting with meat-free/dairy-free substitutes in their favourite dishes. On top of this, a lot of people have started to be more environmentally conscious and amending your diet is one of the easiest ways to do this.

A survey carried out by UBS monitored people’s eating habits in the UK, US and Germany. They found that during the past year, more people have been trying out some form of plant-based protein. Not only this, but 46% of the respondents who tried plant-based meats now eat them at least once a week. This shows that the simple act of trying can go a long way. Most people do not want to commit to a complete change in diet however if everyone made a few small changes, it would go a really long way.

It is much easier to try something new if you have a community that can support you

Even without the pandemic, eating less meat and dairy has been rising in popularity due to more people becoming aware of environmental issues. Some would even argue it has become “trendy” as restaurants and chains are rushing to make vegan ranges. This being said, there are a number of reasons why people choose to try veganism. It is undoubtable that there are environmental, ethical and health benefits associated with a plant-based diet.

I think Veganuary is a phenomenal initiative. It is much easier to try something new if you have a community that can support you as well as keep you accountable. During these troubling times, having an online community of likeminded people can help you to stay motivated.

Scientists are already experimenting with lab grown meat. If this becomes a reality in the years to come, this could lead to even less true meat being consumed.

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