“We’re looking to raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet that our employees can integrate into their day-to-day, whether at home or in the office.”
Many forward-thinking businesses are signing up for Veganuary and are also encouraging everyone in their teams to try vegan next month.
The UK-based campaign, which encourages people to try a diet free of animal products in January and beyond has already got 350,000 registered for the challenge.
Bosses of large UK and multinational companies are also backing the campaign including Bloomberg, Nestlé, Quorn, M&S, and leading accountancy firms PwC and EY among others.
According to Veganuary, big businesses are embracing ‘vegan eating for sustainability as well as sales’.
‘Part of our overall sustainability strategy’
Bloomberg’s Head of Hospitality, Pantry, and Office Services for AMER, Emily Barbey, said: “As part of our overall sustainability strategy, Bloomberg is dedicated to reducing its food-related emissions.
“We’re excited to offer our employees a growing selection of delicious plant-based food options in our offices.
“At the same time, we’re looking to raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet that our employees can integrate into their day-to-day, whether at home or in the office.”
‘There’s a bigger picture’
Marco Settembri, CEO of Nestlé Zone EMENA (Europe, Middle East, and North Africa), is another prominent leader taking part in the initiative and is backing the campaign because for him, “behind Veganuary there’s a bigger picture – and one which induces long-term action. It’s about really feeling the need of the consumer.”
Settembri said: “As someone who stepped up to the Veganuary challenge this year, I am happy to be part of this movement as it grows across Europe and beyond.
“This year I am promoting Veganuary across many of our categories and initiatives. After all, a well-planned plant-based diet can meet the nutritional needs during all stages of life. And there are the environmental and health benefits too.”
He added: “This year I am passing the baton and encouraging all employees to participate in Veganuary and sign-up to the challenge.
“We will inspire them with delicious recipes from our Garden Gourmet colleagues, vegan options in the restaurant, tips from experts, and dietary advice.”
‘Offer healthy food for people and the planet’
According to Phil Watson, Quorn’s UK & Europe Commercial Director: “Our purpose is to provide Healthy Food for People and the Planet and by backing the Veganuary 2021 campaign, to encourage over 400,000 consumers to make the switch to Vegan eating for the month, gets us closer to our 2030 Ambition of 8 billion meat-free servings a year worldwide.”
He added: “I’m taking the Veganuary pledge this year and encouraging those on my team to do the same. We have such a great range of accessible and affordable vegan products to enjoy, so, I’m confident that my January breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will be varied, enjoyable, and nutritious.”
Bosses of British retail chain Marks & Spencer’s are also taking up the challenge and are encouraging their employees to do the same.
“As the proud owners of the UK’s No1 vegan own-label, Plant Kitchen we’re getting SUPER excited about Veganuary!,” M&S Director of Product Development, April Preston, said.
“This year we’re sharing the sign-up links with all our colleagues in stores and support centres, encouraging them to give Veganuary a go – we’ve got lots of amazing new products launching in our Plant Kitchen range, so it’s the perfect time to sample them.
“Our M&S Food leadership team are getting fully involved as well, and will be creating a series of fun, weekly videos that we’re sharing internally of the team sampling different Plant Kitchen products and their meat equivalents and finding out which comes top!”
Growing appetite for vegan eats
There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the trajectory of the food industry and the growing appetite for vegan eats has been driven in part by personal health concerns during the outbreak.
While a plant-based diet cannot prevent a COVID infection, health experts have made links between a diet rich in vegetables, grains and beans, and better immunity function.
“It can treat the underlying conditions that can exacerbate its severity,” Susan Levin of Barnard Medical Center said.
A survey conducted by The Vegan Society found that 1 in 5 Brits cut down on meat consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic while 15% reduced their dairy/egg intake over the lockdown period.
Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, said: “After the unprecedented success of Veganuary and the swathes of new vegan products hitting the shelves in recent months, it’s no surprise that many consumers have made the switch to plant-based alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that be for convenience, cost, or concern for their own wellbeing, the environment and the rights of animals.
“Many Brits are trying these alternatives for the first time and enjoying them so much that they intend on keeping them in their shopping basket when we return to normal times.
“They are purchasing items that they wouldn’t have given a second look a few months ago, but are now seeing these brilliant vegan alternatives as the new normal.”
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