Veganuary, a motion skipping meat and dairy merchandise, grew 50% in 2021, attracting 100 manufacturers


Tabitha Brown, a North Carolina-born small town turned vegan influencer, grew up eating what was in front of her, sometimes including squirrels, turtles, and possums.

"Don't judge me, OK?" She laughs during one of her refreshingly candid social media videos.

Brown, who remembers that veganism was only for whites, die-hard animal activists, and "the cool kids" won't blame you either – but she will lovingly make you give up meat and dairy products. And if you only manage to go vegan, that's a start.

Brown, now with a 9 million social following, is the face of Veganuary, a movement that encourages people to be vegan for a month. The program has built itself into popular awareness in the UK over the past seven years and has eventually expanded from the UK to 192 countries.

It arrived in the US last year and was backed by high-performance Hollywood – including A-list activists like Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone, and Natalie Portman – and turned into an exciting New Years resolution.

With its recent kick-off in its sophomore year, it's growing rapidly, connecting with nearly 100 brands like Costco, Yelp, Robeks, Albertsons, and Nestle, Brown adds to his list of celebrity evangelists, enrolling 80,000 American attendees, a nearly 50% jump from 2020.

The nonprofit group behind the program, which continues to expand globally, has received more than 500,000 enrollments by 2021. This is the largest audience of consumers committed to going vegan for a month and possibly beyond.

"In year two, we are looking to expand our reach by including a wider selection of brands, retailers and restaurants," said Wendy Matthews, US director of Veganuary.

As the centerpiece of the launch, Brown stars in a 40-second Technicolor video in which she eats various plant-based dishes while forgiving the pun and hammering it. She accidentally gets a little extra protein in her meal from an annoying insect, which leads to the slogan "Nobody is perfect". Let's try anyway. "

Brown, an actor named PETA Person of the Year in 2020, "embodies the spirit of veganuary – warm, welcoming, empowering, and non-judgmental," said Matthews.

Their video has had more than 580,000 views on digital platforms, while Veganuary has been trending on TikTok with 77 million video views.

The flexible wave

Veganuary is a free program aimed at consumers who may be reluctant to go vegan full time but are willing to give the water a short term try. The timing is good given the plant-based food boom in the US.

According to Kantar research by Veganuary UK participants in 2019, consumers cited health, animal welfare and environmental concerns, in that order, as motivators for cutting out meat and dairy products. (These statistics accurately reflect the reasons U.S. consumers have reported switching to more plant-based foods during the pandemic.)

The majority of Veganuary fans around the world identify as omnivores, the group's data shows. According to researcher Packaged Facts, state eaters (53%) and flexitarians (36%) are far more numerous than vegans (3%), pescatarians (3%) and vegetarians (5%) and coveted demos for fast-growing brands like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, oats and only egg. (Some estimates suggest that 70% of the US population are flexitarians, due to the coronavirus crisis, meat shortages, and Covid-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses.)

Brand bonanza, "bigger than Christmas"

Veganuary has accumulated nearly 100 brands in the US – up from 35 in the first year – that offer free plant-based side dishes (Mendocino Farms), discounts on juices, salads and smoothies (Robeks, Just Salad), and editorial content (Costco & # 39; s ) offer monthly circular), recipe guide (Hellmann & # 39; s) and menu items on the topic of Veganuary (Veggie Grill).

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Jeffrey Rabinowitz