More Brits interested in plant-based diets as Veganuary receives new record participants

13 February 2023, 07:44 AM
  • Veganuary 2023 showed record interest, as more consumers turn to plant-based alternatives
More Brits interested in plant-based diets as Veganuary receives new record participants

This year’s Veganuary campaign broke all previous records for sign-ups in 2023, attracting 706,965 official participants this year from nearly every country in the world.

In the 10th year the campaign has taken place, the campaign said official sign-ups were likely “just the tip of the iceberg” with total participation in the challenge significantly larger.

A YouGov survey commissioned by the organisation found 4% of UK respondents reported participating in Veganuary during January 2023, and a 2022 poll found 9% of Brits had participated in Veganuary since the campaign began in 2014.

These figures provide an exciting glimpse into the broader public participation in Veganuary and its influence as a social movement.

A success for plant-based
The success of the 2023 campaign indicates a growing trend towards more consumers trying plant-based. In fact, the number of sign-ups has increased dramatically every year since the campaigns’ inception in 2014.

Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s head of communications, commented on the most recent campaign, “It is incredibly inspiring to see Veganuary’s participation and influence continue to grow around the world. 

“As people become more aware of the incredible impact our food choices have on the health of our planet, it’s very inspiring to see so many people around the world starting the new year by taking action.

“Attitudes towards veganism are changing everywhere and Veganuary’s friendly just-give-it-a-go-for-a-month-and-see-what-you-think approach has undoubtedly played an instrumental role in this shift, offering a non-judgmental way for businesses and individuals alike to explore a transition towards plant-based,” she added.

Fine food goes vegan
In fact, plant-based products are going gourmet in 2023. Speciality Food announced fine vegan cheese as a trend to watch this year, with interest in dairy-free options on the rise.

According to Mintel, 26% of dairy cheese eaters and buyers are reducing their intake for environmental concerns. These reducetarians could well swap if vegan cheese improved. Meanwhile, upmarket, dairy-free, sharing platters present an excellent opportunity if your customers are young, urban, vegan and reducetarian.

The UK’s first vegan cheesemonger, La Fauxmagerie is extremely popular, while premium cheese distributor Rowcliffe recently partnered with artisan vegan cheese brand Honestly Tasty to provide independents with plant-based versions of Brie, Camembert, and blue cheeses.

As Sunit Mehta, managing director at Rowcliffe, explained, “An important and increasing sector of the UK cheese industry is plant-based and vegan cheese. The popularity of these cheeses continued to soar with sales predicted to rise globally to $7bn by 2030, up from $2.5bn in 2020 according to a report by Transparency Market Research and 2023 is expected to see more players enter the market as the quality of the cheese alternatives continues to improve.”

Cashing in post-Veganuary
While not everyone who enters your store will be interested in buying vegan options, many customers will either have a friend or family member who is vegetarian/vegan or be looking to improve their health in 2023.

In fact, according to Philip Linardos, co-founder of ShelfNow, “Recent research has shown half of Brits are planning to make an environmental resolution in 2023, with over a third of non-vegans new year’s resolutions including plans to reduce meat and dairy consumption.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, consumers are choosing to spend less, with many individuals cooking from scratch more often, and it has opened up opportunities for fine food retailers to provide quality alternatives for vegan home cooking ingredients.”

Therefore, fine food retailers are in a good position to cash in on the plant-based trend post-Veganuary. As Olivia Sinclair, marketing manager at EatPlanted, explained, “A great way to encourage customers to try more plant-based foods is running an exciting POS or intro offers to incentivise a trial of the product. 
“Recipe cards are also a good option to provide some inspiration on what people could do. If nervous, they could start with one or two categories, e.g., dairy, confectionery, or plant-based meat. And lastly, call on the brands they stock to support them with POS, marketing activations, etc.”

But Philip warned, “To stand out from the competitive retail market, independent retailers can ensure that they are catering to the trend by stocking a wide range of unique products that recognise what consumers are seeking. 

“For example, some producers listed on our marketplace use surplus vegetables that would ordinarily be discarded and others use organic produce as the foundation of their products. We are finding that sustainability is increasingly important to some of our vegan consumers when they are deciding what to purchase. 

“Retailers could also stock vegan products with trending ingredients that consumers are keen to try. For example, the CBD market has exploded in recent years with many Brits seeing the benefits of CBD in their diets.”

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