250,000 Brits go vegan in January
A quarter of a million people tried a vegan diet in the UK last month as numerous retailers, food brands and chain restaurants launched new meat and dairy-free products to keep up with demand.
That is according to analysis by the organisers of the Veganuary campaign, which said it received as many vegan pledges last month than it had in the previous four years combined.
An additional 250,000 people also committed to try a vegan diet globally in January 2019, bringing the total number that took part in the campaign to approximately half a million people.
“We’ve given Brexit a run for its money, with our headline-hitting campaign featuring almost daily across national and international media channels,” Veganuary head of campaigns, Rich Hardy, said.
“I think Veganuary has reached critical mass now – vegan living is growing, it’s here to stay, it’s part of the national conversation, and it has credibility. That’s great news for people, animals, and the planet.”
Greggs and M&S were among the businesses to unveil new vegan and plant-based products last month, with the former seeing many of its stores run out of vegan sausage rolls shortly after they were launched.
This comes after a coalition of investors last year urged food companies to shift away from animal proteins amid a worldwide spike in demand for alternative plant-based products.
Representing $2.4trn (£1.9trn) in combined assets under management, the investors said in a report that they expect the alternative protein market to expand by more than 8% a year to reach $5.2bn by 2020.
Moreover, the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) initiative warned that the negative environmental and health impacts of high meat consumption make taxation “increasingly probable”.
Dr Marco Springman, at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford, said current levels of meat consumption are “not healthy or sustainable”.
“They lead to high emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as to large numbers of avoidable deaths from chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer and type-2 diabetes,” he continued.
“Taxing meat for environmental or health purposes could be a first and important step in addressing these twin challenges, and it would send a strong signal that dietary change is urgently needed to”. preserve both our health and the environment.
Image credit | iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM