The rising interest in the plant-based lifestyle shows no sign of slowing as the Veganuary campaign revealed that their 2020 sign-up numbers exceeded their target by over 50,000. 

The global organisation, which encourages people to try vegan in January and beyond, said just over 400,000 people signed-up, compared to 250,000 in 2019, far exceeding the group’s 2020 target of 350,000.

The organisers said participants included rock legend Brian May, former Dragon Deborah Meadan and actor Rebecca Callard, adding that all of them enjoyed the month so much they are going to make permanent diet changes.

Queen star Brian May posted that on Instagram that he enjoyed the challenge so much he is now doing the same for February, he wrote: “Yes! It’s done – and I loved it. Not a morsel of meat or fish or dairy passed my lips. It was so much easier than I expected and gave me so much. So I am now plunging in for a Vegan February. I certainly don’t feel like giving up this new journey of discovery. Who’s with me?”

Speaking about her own feelings on the month, Rebecca Callard said: “I’ve had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten this month – notably Mildreds and the Greggs Vegan Steak Bake.

“I’m a pretty awful cook but even I’ve managed to knock up some decent stuff in the kitchen – there’s such a variety available everywhere. If it’s not even putting me out then there’s definitely no question of not sticking to an option that affects the world around me and our future.”

The success of the campaign was mirrored on the high street where a plethora of new plant-based products and menu items were launched last month.

These included the first Veganuary offerings from fast-food giants KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King.

The Veganuary team said KFC sold one million vegan burgers in the first month they were on sale – equivalent to one being sold every three seconds since the launch on 2nd January.

While Deliveroo reported that orders of vegan dishes almost doubled when comparing the number in January 2019 and January 2020, increasing by 78 per cent.

A spokesperson for the delivery firm said: “As January comes to a close, Deliveroo has seen its highest ever demand for vegan and plant-based food which figures given Veganuary has smashed its numbers for 2020.

“Many of our partners have introduced new vegan dishes to their roster which are now some of the most popular items on their menu, proving veganism is much more than just a fad.”

Pizza Hut Restaurants saw similar results, stating that the number of their guests trying a vegan pizza has almost doubled when compared to pre-Veganuary and that the Pepperphoni was so popular that it will make a return to their main menu from Feb 26th.

Greggs and Subway both saw success with their own launches, with the high street baker stating that the Vegan Steak Bake has been a huge success, even bigger than they had originally anticipated, while the sandwich specialists were delighted with the response to their Meatless Meatball Marinara.

Retailers also saw interest in vegan products soar with sales of Hellman’s Vegan Mayo seeing a growth of nearly 400 per cent in Tesco during Veganuary and M&S’ Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kiev selling at a rate of four every minute since it launched on 2nd January.

Reflecting on the 2020 campaign, Veganuary’s head of communications Toni Vernelli said: “With the link between animal farming and the climate crisis making headlines nearly every day we expected Veganuary 2020 to be the biggest yet, but it exceeded all of our expectations.

“We applaud everyone who took part and encourage them to continue eating vegan food as often as possible. And we’re grateful to all of the businesses embracing Veganuary and making it easier for more people to eat more plant-based food more often. Together we are making an enormous difference for animals and the planet.”

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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