Veganuary announced that a total of 582,538 people from 209 countries signed up for the event globally compared to 400,000 in 2020, far exceeding the group’s 2021 target of 500,000.
The campaign was supported by British celebrities including Jane Goodall, Ricky Gervais, Paul McCartney, John Bishop, Sara Pascoe and over 100 additional international celebrities, politicians, NGOs and businesses signing a joint letter calling on everyone to help fight climate change and prevent future pandemics by changing their diet – starting by signing-up for Veganuary.
The Veganuary 2021 participants included politicians:
Henry Smith MP, said: “Veganuary has been enjoyable personally and I hope a much needed help to animal welfare and tackling climate change for all.”
Andrea Jenkins MP, said: “Taking part certainly made me look at my cooking habits and this month I have prepared so much more from scratch. I would say it has certainly been a healthy positive change to my busy lifestyle. I was glad to see some of my colleagues joined in too and I hope many more people try this lifestyle change.”
Hundreds of new plant-based products and menu items were also launched during Veganuary with sales of many exceeding all expectations.
Pret launched new Meatless Meatball Hot Wrap featuring Meatless Farm meatballs that became the first new product to become a top five best seller in launch week in Pret’s history. Guy Meakin, UK Trading Director at Pret, said, “I’m thrilled that we have been able to add a hot vegan item to our already robust vegan range which customers have gone crazy for this Veganuary. At Pret we’ve never seen a new product come in and shift our best sellers list, and to see it during a lockdown and in less than three weeks says a lot.” The vegan meatball wrap will now be a permanent addition to Pret’s menu.
Leon launched a new Vegan Sweet Carolina BBQ Burger which quickly became its bestselling burger. M&S reported that it sold one of its new vegan No Salt Beef Pretzel Roll every 30 seconds.
Plant-based brands also reported record sales during January. Michael Hunter, the Managing Director of Meatless Farm, said: “It’s been an incredible month for us and the plant-based category as a whole. We know that during the first two weeks of January our sales were up 111% year-on-year and we’re expecting to have seen this grow further towards the end of the month. Not to mention, our partnerships with major brands, Pret, Leon and itsu which have seen a phenomenal response and are really testament to how mainstream plant-based eating has become. This has really set the tone for 2021 and we’re looking forward to an even bigger Veganuary next year.”
Squeaky Bean launched new plant-based meat alternatives and all of them were a huge success. Simon Day, Marketing Manager at Winterbotham Darby, commented: “Squeaky Bean sales are up 222% so far versus Veganuary 2020, and it has been heartening to see the growth of the plant-based category as a whole. Given everything that is going on in the world right now it has been an impressive effort from UK retail and foodservice, suppliers, brands, and all of us as consumers making our own switches. The most encouraging sign for the future is that the food on offer continues to get more delicious, more varied and more relevant to people’s lives – our focus is on continuing that momentum through 2021 and beyond!”
Producer of plant-based bacon and chicken, THIS, made over £300,000 of retail sales during the first week of January. Andy Shovel, Co-Founder of THIS, said: “With Veganuary beginning in lockdown this year, we weren’t completely sure what would happen. Whilst people have been ordering dishes with our products via online takeaway, our restaurant sales are naturally down compared to last year, but our boost in retail sales have compensated for this loss.”
Veganuary’s Head of Communications Toni Vernelli says:
“With the link between animal farming, the climate crisis and global pandemics making headlines nearly every day, we expected Veganuary 2021 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, the planet and human health.”