“Being vegan is a great way to support the natural world and to live sustainably.”
Veganuary- the world’s foremost and biggest month-long pledge to adopt a vegan lifestyle, is predicted to witness its best year next month, with a record number of consumers opting for plant-based foods following greater concern about health and the environment.
Jane Land and Matthew Glover – organisers of the UK-based campaign – which was launched seven years ago, had set a target of 500,000 signatories worldwide and more than 260,000 people have already signed up.
The staggering numbers reflect the huge scale of the initiative. Last year, 400,000 people signed up for the campaign, compared with 250,000 participants in 2019 and 170,000 in 2018.
The movement has also not only gained global recognition but also tremendous backing from celebrities and multinational companies.
Recently, over 100 dignitaries including international superstars, politicians, NGOs, and businesses, signed an open letter penned by the organisation, calling on the public to try a vegan diet.
‘Passing the baton’
According to Marco Settembri, the chief executive of Nestlé, (Europe, Middle East, and North Africa), the company is backing the campaign on health grounds and is encouraging its global team staff to do the same.
“A well-planned plant-based diet can meet nutritional needs during all stages of life while there are environmental and health benefits too,” Settembri said.
“This year I am passing the baton and encouraging all employees to participate in Veganuary and sign up to the challenge. I am happy to be part of this movement as it grows across Europe and beyond.”
‘Healthy food for people and the planet’
Quorn’s UK and Europe commercial director, Philip Watson, said: “Our purpose is to provide healthy food for people and the planet and by backing Veganuary 2021, we aim to get closer to our 2030 target of 8bn meat-free servings a year worldwide.”
‘Must act now’
Reflecting on the current COVID climate, Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s international head of communications, said: “2020 has brought much hardship and heartbreak, but it has also given us an opportunity to change and build a better future. Our united message is one of hope – but we must all act now.”
Chris Packham, letter signatory, and Veganuary ambassador said: “Trashing the planet does none of us any good, as the coronavirus pandemic shows all too clearly.
“But we can emerge from this stronger and wiser, with a renewed commitment to protecting the environment, its inhabitants, and our own futures. Being vegan is a great way to support the natural world and to live sustainably.”
There is no doubt that the plant-based market was a burgeoning trend even before the outbreak, but the pandemic has fast-tracked it as people have started paying closer attention to their diet.
According to Barclays’ research, the value of the global plant-based food and drink market is projected to reach $140bn by 2029, the market worth increasing by a staggering 1,000% in the coming years.
The report also notes that 92% of plant-based meals in the UK are consumed by the UK’s estimated 22 million ‘flexitarians’ – not by traditional vegans. The data shows how flexitarians are actually driving sales in supermarkets, restaurants, and pub chains
‘Dismantle’ the destructive meat industry
Glover, on his part, recently teamed up with York chef and restaurateur Adam Lyons, to launch a vegan fried chick*n company called VFC, in order to ‘dismantle’ the destructive meat industry.
According to the Veganuary co-founder, the move is ‘an act of positive rebellion against a system that has brought us climate change, environmental destruction, factory farming, and slaughterhouses’.
“We’re an activist business. We set up the company because we care deeply about the injustice of factory farming,” he told Vegconomist.
“Campaigning for the animals will be at the core of our message, and the sale of delicious vegan fried chick*n will help us expand that message, and save many millions of chickens from suffering.”
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