Record 250,000 people tuck into Veganuary

More people took part in the vegan campaign in 2019 than in the past four years combined

The word 'VEGAN' formed from fruit, vegetables and legumes on wooden board, with other fruit and veg surrounding it

Were you one of the new year record-breakers? A quarter-of-a-million people around the world enjoyed Veganuary last month, making it to the campaign’s most successful year since it launched. And that’s just the official numbers – it’s thought likely that thousands more took part without signing up via the vegan campaign’s website.

Showing how the idea of a month without meat or dairy gained in support as the old year waned, an astonishing 14,000 people signed up on the last Sunday of 2018 alone. It’s also evidence of how the idea of veganism has become more mainstream both here and abroad – Veganuary launched in 13 new countries this year, with signatories flocking to sign up in Chile, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, Russia, South Africa and many other places.

In fact, Veganuary was so popular this year that more people chose to take part in 2019 than in the past four years combined. Rich Hardy, Veganuary’s head of campaigns, believes veganism has now reached “critical mass”, with six out of every 10 of those who pledge to go vegan for the month saying they plan to stick with it.

“With a quarter of a million participants this year, Veganuary is finishing on an all-time high,” Hardy said. “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.”

The campaign certainly has plans to keep the momentum going well into 2019 and beyond, with a high-profile attempt to encourage the Pope – and hopefully the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics – to go vegan for Lent. While the chance to do something for the environment should be enough to win the pontiff over, he has an extra inducement in the form of a $1 million prize, donated by the Blue Horizon International Foundation, to go to a charity of his choice.

Shops in Britain are also determined to cater to this burgeoning appetite for greener eating: plant-based offering from everyone from Quorn to The Vegetarian Butcher are appearing on supermarket shelves throughout the country, with Iceland, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Unilever among those vying for a slice of the delicious, environmentally friendly and increasingly lucrative vegan pie.