Veganuary is an annual challenge run by a UK nonprofit organisation that promotes and educates about veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Since the event began in 2014, participation has more than doubled each year. 400,000 people signed up to the 2020 campaign. The campaign estimated this represented the carbon dioxide equivalent of 450,000 flights and the lives of more than a million animals. Veganuary can also refer to the event itself.
Participants sign up online and receive a downloadable "starter kit" and daily support emails. They're offered an online "vegan starter kit" with restaurant guides, product directories,:36 and a recipe database.:38 Participants are encouraged to share images and recipes to social media, which according to academic Alexa Weik von Mossner creates a sense of community and communicates the message that veganism is easy and fun.:37
Gentleman's Quarterly noted "it's a clever way to introduce a new way of nutritional thinking at a time of year where our mind is hardwired to explore ways to better ourselves".
A January 2019 slump in UK pub receipts was blamed on Veganuary.
Von Mossner notes that criticism can be raised over the fact that Veganuary uses "images with happy-looking, baby-faced animals while at the same time downplaying (though not completely omitting) the horrific truth about the lives and deaths of the actual animals that are nevertheless slaughtered everyday for human consumption". Another point of criticism may be "the campaign's strict emphasis on food rather than on other aspects of the vegan lifestyle and worldview".:38
Tobias Leenaert postulated the popularity of the campaign may be partially due to the organizers' decision to promote "trying" veganism for a specific period vs. "going vegan", which allows participants to decide not to continue with an all-vegan diet without feeling as if they've failed.:36 Von Mossner agrees and points to the "light-hearted" and generally positive tone of the promotional materials, which feature attractive and "frequently named animals" with captions like, "Save little Eric—Try Vegan this January" rather than images of animal abuse.:37
Food businesses and restaurants in the UK have been introducing new vegan products in January to coincide with Veganuary. The supermarkets in the UK, including Tesco, have been seen to run advertisements advertising Veganuary.
People in the United States are now participants in the challenge. In 2019, The Washington Post reported that "46 percent of people signed up for health reasons, with 34 percent citing animal cruelty and only 12 percent climate issues." In 2020, The Houston Chronicle reported that "Texas was the state with the second-highest sign-ups in the U.S." In 2021, The Maine Sunday Telegram reported that "Annual participation continues to be biggest in Britain, but it’s slowly spreading to the U.S., along with many other countries including Mexico, Argentina, Germany and Sweden."
Participation in Veganuary has become increasingly popular, with the number of people signing up rising each year:
- 2017 - 50,000 people
- 2018 - 168,000 people
- 2019 - 250,000 people
- 2020 - 400,000 people
- 2021 - 582,538 people
- "Here's How Veganuary Took Over The First Part Of The Year". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "Veganuary definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "Why I started the Veganuary movement". BBC News. 3 January 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Maynard, Micheline. "Happy Veganuary: Vegans And Vegetarians Are In The 2019 Dining Spotlight". Forbes. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Alexa Weik von Mossner (2019). "How We Feel about (Not) Eating Animals" in Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 978-1-948908-11-5.
- Wicks, Lauren. "Here's Everything You Need to Know About "Veganuary"". Cooking Light. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Knight, Nick. "Veganuary is here: what you need to know". Gentleman's Quarterly. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Gill, Oliver. "'Veganuary' blamed for January pub hangover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Howard, Tom (5 January 2021). "Meatless burgers hit the high street for Veganuary". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Maynard, Maddie (18 December 2020). "Seven plant-based meat alternatives launching for Veganuary 2021". The Grocer. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- editor, Damian Carrington Environment (5 January 2021). "Record 500,000 people pledge to eat only vegan food in January". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 January 2021.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Heil, Emily (11 December 2019). "'Veganuary' wants to be your new food resolution for 2020 — and beyond". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Balter, Emma (5 January 2021). "Goodbye 2020, hello Veganuary: the global movement to eat plant-based for a month". HoustonChronicle.com. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Kamila, Avery Yale (3 January 2021). "Vegan Kitchen: More people are resolving to start the year without animal products". Press Herald. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Veganuary: Is following a vegan diet for a month worth it?". BBC News. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- McCoole, Veena. "Going Vegan This January? A London Food Entrepreneur Shares Her Tips For Veganuary". Forbes. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- "Year of the vegan? Record numbers sign up for Veganuary". the Guardian. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- Smithers, Rebecca (3 February 2020). "Veganuary signed up record 400,000 people, campaign reveals". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- "Veganuary's rise is unstoppable as 2021 becomes biggest year yet". veganuary.com. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.