Now that a third of British people have stopped or are reducing their meat intake, a significant change in how we eat is afoot. Veganuary, an 11-London client, has been a key driving force behind this plant-powered revolution.
In the 5 years they've been in action, Veganuary have encouraged over 500,000 people to take part in their month-long vegan pledge, with a record-breaking 250,000 sign ups this year. Rich Hardy, Head of Campaigns at Veganuary, said: “With a quarter of a million participants this year, Veganuary is finishing on an all-time high. We’ve given Brexit a run for its money this month, with our headline-hitting campaign featuring almost daily across national and international media channels. 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.”
Always up for a challenge,11 London’s Business Director, Helen Hamilton, and Copywriter Lucy Silver discuss their experience of taking part in Veganuary this year.
What made you want to take part in Veganuary?
"I enjoy being a part of any movement whose only victim is Piers Morgan"
H: It was a mixture of health and principle. December was such an indulgent month so Veganuary felt like a good way to kick-start a healthier New Year. Also, I must say I was influenced by all the recent coverage of meat consumption going in the West, and the effect it’s having on the planet. The kids are now old enough to have a view on these things too and were keen to be on board (for both reasons), so we decided to do it together.
L: I did my first Veganuary last year, initially taking part for environmental reasons. However, learning more about the dairy and egg industry made me want to continue for animal welfare reasons too. I also enjoy being a part of any movement whose only victim is Piers Morgan.
What have you enjoyed most about being vegan?
"The Christmas fog has fully gone!
H: I’m feeling generally better. The Christmas fog has fully gone! Also, I have a sense of achievement – I know I can do it now. The plethora of vegan recipes I found online made the whole thing feel a lot more doable – there’s so much out there.
L: Similarly, I’m feeling a lot healthier. This year it feels like there’s been a huge expansion of vegan ranges in supermarkets so that’s really helped in terms of convenience foods when I haven’t had time to cook. The daily email updates and tips from Veganuary and the Facebook group have been really useful in terms of sharing knowledge and positivity.
Did you find anything difficult?
"Why is milk powder in everything?"
H: For me, it was remembering the little things (e.g. ordering a cappuccino with plant milk - I’ve asked for a cappuccino a couple of times and forgotten about the milk until I’ve walked out of the cafe.) For the kids it has been sticking to it! We’ve had to move to week-time only!
L: I’ve found it a lot easier this year since more restaurants have taken part in more adventurous ways – I’ve very rarely been limited to an overpriced cauliflower ‘steak’. I’ve occasionally slipped up because I hadn’t checked the fine print of ingredients (why is milk powder in everything?!) but other than that it’s been a lot easier the second time around. Blogs like Accidentally Vegan have been really useful in terms of being aware of which everyday items are already vegan.
Has Veganuary affected how you will think about food in the future?
"I’ve got a long-term plan to ‘crowd out’ animal products from my life"
H: Although I can’t see a total transition to veganism, it’s definitely demonstrated how easy it is to significantly reduce meat and dairy products from my weekly diet – and that’s now my long-term goal. I’ve found I don’t actually crave these foods in the same way now as I was doing previously.
L: Definitely. I’ve got a long-term plan to ‘crowd out’ animal products from my life by introducing alternatives. Given the way brands have got on board with Veganuary this year, I can only see this getting easier and becoming more mainstream.
Best vegan meal?
H: This was delicious - Ottolenghi’s Orecchiette cooked in chickpea and tomato sauce.
L: I had an amazing vegan burger at one high street restaurant, which I can’t stop thinking about. We’re also very lucky because the coffee shop next door to the office has a good vegan breakfast range. At home, I’ve made a lot from Jack Monroe’s blog, ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ which helps so much in terms of making veganism affordable.
Find out more:
For more information about Veganuary, please visit their website, where you can take the month-long pledge (any time of the year!)
About 11 London
11 London is an advertising and communications agency, based in leafy West London. We work in the areas of health and humanity - with organisations, brands or products that improve or prolong life. To learn more about 11 London, please contact: