Carrot or Steak? Why Veganuary’s Popular – And Why It Isn’t

Veganism might once have been a lifestyle choice associated with the extreme end of alternative-living, but today it’s increasingly popular with ‘mainstream’ consumers. As people become increasingly aware of how different types of food are produced, many are switching to a fully plant-based diet as a way of adopting more sustainable eating behaviours, especially as part of their New Year’s resolutions.

Veganuary is a global 31-day challenge, in which participants are asked not to eat or use any animal-based products throughout January. This year, it seems to be gaining more traction than ever, with a record number of people signing up.

Brands are also getting involved with Veganuary-related marketing initiatives and by expanding their vegan ranges. Some examples include:

  • Tesco: vegan-focused TV advert
  • Starbucks: launching a new vegan product range
  • Asda: trialing a new vegan butcher counter
  • Wagamama: Veganuary menu and setting a target to make half the menu meat-free by the end of 2021.

Expected uptake of Veganuary

Findings from the third wave of our Great Green Sustainability Study show that on average 21% of consumers claim they are likely to take part in Veganuary, with planned involvement higher among younger audiences.

Graph showing likelihood of various age groups to take part in Veganuary

However, this expected participation is lower than other, similar events we have looked at, such as Stop Food Waste Day (40%), Plastic Free July (42%) and Recycle Week (50%). Despite people’s best intentions to be green and sustainable, changing diet seems a step too far, with 59% of those who won’t participate in Veganuary claiming they “just don’t want to” compared to an average of 34% for other events.

Implications for promoting Veganuary

This suggests that greater uptake of veganism will require a change in mindset as opposed to making it more accessible or cheaper. Therefore, the more commonplace it can be made through initiatives such as Veganuary, the greater the likelihood that consumers will try it and potentially adopt it.

To find out more about our Great Green Sustainability Study or how we can help you with sustainability research, contact Tom Gould, Head of Consumer, on

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