Veganuary, the global pledge to try a vegan diet for 31 days, is today celebrating a huge milestone with a total of 2m people having now officially signed up since the pledge began in 2014. Some famous participants include wildlife presenter Chris Packham, TV presenter Jasmine Harman, actor Peter Egan and ‘dragon’ Deborah Meaden – all of whom are now Ambassadors for the charity.
Jasmine Harman, who took part in the first-ever Veganuary in 2014, says: “I feel very proud and very privileged to have been with Veganuary from the start and to be one of their Ambassadors.”
Joining as an Ambassador for 2022, Deborah Meaden says: “Taking part in Veganuary helped me change how I eat, and now my diet is the best for animals, the planet and for me. If the climate crisis, animal suffering or the loss of wild places and species concerns you, sign up, take part and let Veganuary help you, too.”
Peter Egan, who took part in 2016, says: “The first thing which is wonderful about Veganuary is that there is no pressure. So you can, if you like, say ‘ok I’m only going to do it for January’. I’d be very surprised if you decide to do it for January and then not do it for February because it is such an exciting and interesting way of living in terms of food. So, I think it’s a wonderful imperative. And one that, of course, I totally support and I’m very, very happy to be an Ambassador for.”
Chris Packham, who did Veganuary in 2019, is encouraging everyone who cares about climate change to take part this January as he fronts the charity’s 2022 campaign video.
Forged on a kitchen table in York by a husband-and-wife team, Veganuary has made newspaper and TV headlines around the world – from front page of the Times and New Scientist to features in the Washington Post, New York Times and South China Morning Post. The organisation now has campaign hubs in seven countries – UK, US, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and India – and has welcomed participants from every country in the world except North Korea and Vatican City. For some the experience was life-changing – including a Devon woman who lost seven stone and went from self-confessed couch potato to triathlete; a 70-year-old in California who’s lowered her blood pressure, cholesterol and no longer registers as pre-diabetic; and a woman in Eswatini who’s started her own vegan mail-order company to help other people in her community take on the challenge as well.
The launch of Gregg’s vegan sausage roll for Veganuary 2019 sent Piers Morgan into meltdown, and in 2020 KFC and Burger King joined the party with the first fast-food Veganuary launches. McDonalds and Wimpy joined them in 2021. Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley and New York’s new mayor Eric Adams have all urged people to take part in Veganuary, helping official participant numbers grow year on year from 3,300 in 2014 to 580,000 in 2021. Kantar research suggests the number of people who have ‘done Veganuary ‘ without officially signing-up is actually ten times greater.
Reflecting on the 2m milestone, Matthew Glover, co-founder and Chair of Veganuary, said: “When my wife Jane and I decided to launch a new year’s vegan pledge in 2014 we expected only 1,000 people to take part. More than 3,000 signed-up and we were blown away. Now Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas, reflecting the ever-increasing number of people choosing plant-based food. 2m official Veganuary participants in just eight years is a huge achievement, but the explosion in plant-based products that has accompanied it is truly revolutionising the future of food.”
Veganuary is free to join and those interested can sign-up at veganuary.com to receive 31 daily emails packed with nutritional info, recipes, easy meal plans and helpful advice.