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Veganuary has been described as ‘a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas’, after revealing it has hit a massive 1 million participants.

The global initiative, which calls on people ‘to try vegan’ for 31 days, had its first outing in 2014. Husband-and-wife team Matthew Glover and Jane Land created Veganuary together, sitting at their kitchen table.

Veganuary success

Since then, it has made newspaper and TV headlines around the world. It has appeared in publications such as the Times, the New Scientist, and the Washington Post. Others include New York Times, and South China Morning Post

While 1 million people have officially taken part, Kantar research suggests 10-times this number has unofficially participated.

Over the years, sign-ups have surged from 3,300 in 2014 to 400,300 signing up in 2020. Celebrity supporters including Joaquin Phoenix, Romesh Ranganathan, and Paul McCartney have encouraged people to take part.

Veganuary celebrities

A number of celebrities have taken part in Veganuary. They include TV presenter Jasmine Harman, actor Peter Egan, and wildlife presenter Chris Packham. Actor Rebecca Callard, rock legend Brian May and ‘dragon’ Deborah Meaden also took part.

Jasmine Harman, who took part in the first-ever Veganuary in 2014, sent a video message to Veganuary. She said: “I feel very proud and very privileged to have been with Veganuary from the start and to be one of their Ambassadors.”

Rebecca Callard, who participated in 2020, Evanna Lynch, a long-time Veganuary Ambassador; and Emmerdale actor James Moore who became an Ambassador in 2019 sent well wishes.

Kuntal Joisher – the first vegan to summit Mount Everest and Veganuary Ambassador – also sent messages celebrating Veganuary.

Vegan boom

Owing to this success, January has become the time for retailers to launch their major vegan food releases.

This year saw a number of major options hit shelves. Chiefly, Greggs‘ vegan steak bake, KFC‘s meatless burger, and McDonald’s first vegan meal, among others.

A number of these products exceeded sales expectations. For example, KFC sold a staggering 1 million Vegan Burgers in just a month – that is one every three seconds.

Plant-based revolution

Matthew Glover is the co-founder and chair of Veganuary. In a statement sent to PBN he said: “When my wife Jane and I decided to launch a new year’s vegan pledge in 2014 we expected only 1,000 people to take part. More than 3,000 signed-up and we were blown away. 

“Now Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas. This reflects the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food.

“One million official Veganuary participants in just seven years is a huge achievement. But the momentum behind the plant-based revolution will see us hit two million in no time.” 

Maria Chiorando

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.