Veganuary: the global plant-based pledge
January 1 not only marked the start of a brand-new year, it was also the first day of Veganuary – a worldwide campaign that encourages people to try following a vegan diet for the month of January… and beyond. After the hot mess that was 2020, many of us are hoping that 2021 will be a year of positive change, and going vegan for a month is a great way to take steps towards a healthier body and a healthier planet.
The first Veganuary pledge, held in 2014, saw 3300 people take part. During the 2020 campaign, more than 400,000 people in 192 countries took the pledge to try a vegan diet, and the campaign has also received the backing of celebrities like Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Chrissie Hynde, Alicia Silverstone and – ironically – Meat Loaf.
By the first of January this year, more than 440,000 people had signed-up for the 31-day challenge – and sign-ups are continuing at a rate of one person every three seconds.
Plant-based food brand Fry Family Food Co. is an official Veganuary 2021 sponsor, and Fry’s Director and Veganuary ambassador Tammy Fry is urging Australians to take the challenge.
“As a lifelong herbivore, mother and business leader in the plant-based food space, Veganuary is an opportunity to share my years of knowledge and to support people, regardless of where they’re at in their plant-based food journey,” Fry says. “This is the first year we’ve been able to step up as a global sponsor and I cannot wait to help drive record participation around the world to make plant-based eating the new normal.”
According to Google data, as of September 2020, Australia now has the second largest vegan community in the world. Fry’s hopes to help cultivate this community throughout Veganuary by sharing their favourite tips and most popular plant-based recipes, and educating with environmental data and nutritional information.
More than one million people have already completed Veganuary’s one-month pledge since it began in 2014, and statistics compiled by Dr Helen Harwatt from Harvard University’s Animal Law and Policy program show that their collective impact has been huge:
• 103,840 tonnes of CO2eq saved, equivalent to driving around the world 15,000 times.
• 6.2 million litres of water saved, the same as flushing the toilet almost half a million times.
• Additionally, more than 3.4 million animals were saved, according to the Vegan Society’s Veganalyser calculations.
But these aren’t the only savings – research commissioned by Veganuary has found that, on average, plant-based meals eaten at home cost 40 percent less than meat or fish-based meals, and take one-third less time to prepare. The study found:
• A plant-based main meal costs 40% less than a main meal (lunch or dinner) containing meat, fish or poultry.
• A meat/fish-based lunch takes 18.9 minutes to prepare, on average, whereas a plant-based lunch is 37% quicker at only 12 minutes.
• A meat/fish-based dinner takes 37.5 minutes to prepare, on average, whereas a plant-based dinner is 32% quicker at just 25.4 minutes.
• Vegan households spend 8% less per grocery trip, on average, than non-vegan households of a similar size.
• Only 3.7% of all vegan household spend on food and drink goes on meat substitutes.
“COVID-19 has sparked a huge increase in people interested in trying a plant-based diet, whether for their health or the health of our planet,” says Toni Vernelli, Veganuary Head of Communications. “It has also caused economic loss for many. This study shows that people can protect their health, the planet and their pocketbook with a plant-based diet.
“Those of us who’ve been eating vegan for years know that it’s great value, yet somehow the myth has persisted that veganism is expensive and out of reach for some. We now have the data to dispel this idea once and for all. While some plant-based meat and dairy substitutes carry a premium, this study shows they are only a small part of a typical vegan diet and, overall, eating plants costs less – another great reason to try vegan this January.”
You can sign up to the Veganuary challenge here. By signing up, you’ll receive recipes, shopping guides, meal plans, restaurant suggestions and more to take you on a taste adventure of new flavour experiences, and a kinder way of eating.