A record 250,000 people signed up for this year's Veganuary, a campaign that encourages people to try a plant-based diet for the month of January. Organizers say that the number of pledges for 2019 exceeded those in the previous four years combined.
“With a quarter of a million participants this year, Veganuary is finishing on an all-time high,” Rich Hardy, head of campaigns at Veganuary, said in a statement. “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.”
Six in 10 Veganuary participants plan to continue their vegan diet into the rest of the year, according to organizers, lending credence to the Economist's prediction that 2019 would be "The Year of the Vegan."
The UK-based campaign first launched in 2014 and has since spread across the globe, with new partnerships in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Iceland, India, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and Sweden.
UK retailers including Papa John’s and supermarket chain Tesco saw a spike in demand for plant-based items during the month of January, reports the Guardian. British Chef Gordon Ramsay, once vociferously opposed to the vegan diet, added plant-based choices to his menus this month.
Plant-based living is becoming more mainstream both in the UK and in the U.S., particularly as part of a flexitarian lifestyle. The Guardian reports that the UK is home to an estimated 22 million flexitarians, and a study conducted by OnePoll late last year found that over one-third (38 percent) of Americans consider themselves flexitarian. Fifty-nine percent of people surveyed said they eat at least one plant-based meal per day.
The plant-based food market continues to grow in the U.S., with one FAIRR Initiative report released last year estimating that given its current growth rate, the market may reach $5.2 billion by 2020. The sector now encompasses a large variety of plant-based milk including ultra-popular oat milk. The burgeoning plant-based meat sector, once ruled nearly-exclusively by the popular Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, now features newcomers like Nestle's Incredible Burger.