Veganuary 2023 – The in’s and out’s
You might have started to hear the term Veganuary this month, for those not familiar, this is an annual challenge run by a nonprofit organization within the UK that began in 2014. Though since then a considerable amount of attention has been drawn to the campaign. It promotes veganism and is centered around encouraging people to adopt a vegan lifestyle for January.
Since it gained traction a lot of larger supermarkets have integrated this campaign into their marketing and they release a lot of plant-based products throughout January to participate in this trending campaign. This benefits those participating as they have access to a wider range of alternative foods to make this challenge easier, however, it’s sometimes disappointing to see some of these products get discontinued after January is over. However, for a lot of businesses, the popularity only encourages them to produce more plant-based products throughout the year.
How well does it work?
Well firstly, the whole aim isn’t just to convert you to the vegan lifestyle, for a lot of people it’s not sustainable or they may not be able to participate due to health reasons or perhaps they simply don’t enjoy the lifestyle.
However, a huge positive of this campaign being adopted by larger businesses is that it brings more attention to what we consume, and not just animal products but everything else. Of those taking part in this campaign which surpassed 629,000 pledges in 2022, 46% participated because of animal welfare, 21% for environmental concerns, and 22% for their health.
It gets the conversation going about where our food comes from and what it takes to get it to our plates. As concern for our environment increases due to our current climate crisis, more participants this year will likely be motivated by environmental concerns.
Around a third of the participants remained Vegan after January mostly because they found it easier than they originally anticipated. More shops are producing Vegan and Plant-based products due to the increasing demand of those adopting this lifestyle. The increasing availability of these types of foods benefits a lot more people than just vegans, like those who are intolerant or allergic to certain foods or those who simply prefer the taste of something different.
For a lot of people, its benefits aren’t just about switching to a fully Vegan diet. Veganuary may lead to a lot of people trying more plant-based foods, but adopting little changes in their diet such as switching to alternative products or changing where they purchase their food. For some people, it leads to more local buying or even encourages them to participate in growing their own food.
Even adopting regular alternatives into your diet can lead to a positive environmental impact. One of the most popular alternatives is plant-based milk. There is a huge adoption of plant-based milk with studies showing one in three people in the UK now drink it due to both health benefits and environmental reasons
With a huge variety to choose from such as; Oat, Almond, Hazelnut, Coconut, Soy, and more it’s no surprise that since this has become more readily available, more people are making the switch. From supermarkets to coffee shops and restaurants most places now have alternative milk options readily available.
Popular brands have Vegan options.
But what is available? A lot of brands trialed Vegan options during Veganuary and due to their popularity have either continued it or come out with more alternative foods, here are some of the more well-known, vegan options from your favorite brands which can be found in most supermarkets.
- Cheese. For those who love cheese, finding a good alternative can be a make or break. Luckily there has been a lot of time and investment into perfecting vegan cheese and different brands are producing their own versions including: Cathedral city cheese blocks, Violife’s range of vegan cheeses including parmesan, cheese blocks, slices, and creme cheese alternatives, Applewood’s smoked vegan cheese, Mexicana vegan cheese, vegan babybel’s & more!
- Chocolate & Sweets. A lot of sweets are vegan, it just takes a little check in the ingredients to make sure as some contain honey or gelatin. Candy kittens are a popular plant-based brand for gummy-type sweets and for chocolate you have a pretty large range with KitKat, galaxy, Nomo, Moo free, Love Raw, and Cadbury offering alternatives. You also have ice cream alternatives including Ben and Jerry’s!
- Meat alternatives. For those who are looking for an alternative to meat, there are options that taste good, have a similar texture, and offer a filling addition to your dish. Just because they are not the same, doesn’t mean they don’t taste good, most supermarkets offer a range of vegan and vegetarian, burgers, sausages, fish, chicken, and minced plant-based alternatives. A lot of people also like to use jackfruit, mushrooms, or tofu in place of meat in their dishes.
Vegan restaurants & Junk food.
Eating Vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat healthily, if you’re someone who likes a bit of junk food once in a while you don’t have to give that up and with popular fast food chains adopting vegan alternative options, it’s even easier to get your fix!
- McDonald’s, Usually people’s first place to go when they are on the road and want something quick, easy, and nice. McDonald’s offers a Vegan Burger called the McPlant which is like their quarter pounder. Even if you aren’t vegan, it’s worth giving it a try just for how good it is! Depending on what’s in at the time they often have a vegan side option such as veggie dippers.
- KFC and Burger King also offer plant-based burgers and sides however it’s careful to note their preparation which is usually listed on their site as some options are cooked alongside meat, not great if you are careful about cross-contamination.
- Subway! They offer a pretty large range of vegan alternatives of their classic favorites such as a meatless marinara sub, plant patty sub, and a Tastes-like chicken sub!
- Pizza. If you love a pizza on a Friday night then you don’t have to miss out on Pizza Hut, Dominos, and papa John’s which all have vegan options.
- Greggs, this one is probably one of the most popularly known restaurants with vegan options, the controversy around the vegan sausage roll that tasted so good many non-vegans prefer it!
As well as fast food, a lot of popular restaurants have vegan alternatives included in their menu, such as Wagamama’s, Zizzi’s, Nando’s, TGI Friday’s, and Pho among many others. Even a lot of local restaurants now offer at least one or two vegan alternative dishes, it’s worth looking for vegan options next time you go out to see what’s available.
Are you trying Veganuary this year? You never know, you might find something you like!