Veganuary, the global pledge to try vegan for 31 days, has celebrated a huge milestone – a total of two million people have officially signed up since the pledge began in 2014.
Forged on a kitchen table in York by a husband-and-wife team, Veganuary has made newspaper and TV headlines around the world – from front page of the Times and New Scientist to features in the Washington Post, New York Times and South China Morning Post.
The organisation now has campaign hubs in seven countries – UK, US, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and India. For some the experience was life-changing – including a Devon woman who lost seven stone and went from couch potato to triathlete; a 70-year-old in California who’s lowered her blood pressure, cholesterol and no longer registers as pre-diabetic; and a woman in Eswatini who’s started her own vegan mail order company to help other people take on the challenge as well.
2019 saw Gregg’s launch their vegan sausage roll, and in 2020 KFC and Burger King joined the party with the first fast-food Veganuary launches. McDonalds and Wimpy joined them in 2021. Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley and New York’s new mayor Eric Adams have all urged people to take part in Veganuary, helping official participant numbers grow year on year from 3,300 in 2014 to 580,000 in 2021. Kantar research suggests the number of people who have ‘done Veganuary’ without officially signing-up is actually ten times greater.
Reflecting on the two million milestone, Matthew Glover, co-founder and Chair of Veganuary, 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, reflecting the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food.” He added: “Two million official Veganuary participants in just eight years is a huge achievement, but the explosion in plant-based products that has accompanied it is truly revolutionising the future of food.”