The rise of veganism: spotlight on Veganuary initiatives

Date : 03 February 2021

Sabira Habib

Retail Analyst

2021 saw a staggering increase in the number of sign-ups for Veganuary, with more than 500,000 pledging to follow the plant-based diet, double the number than 2019. Over the years, the trend has gained traction. However, this year the on-going pandemic has caused people to consider and rethink their lifestyle habits and focus on eating healthy.

In our report on Veganuary, 2021 we explore what is driving interest among shoppers and review the latest Veganuary initiatives from retailers and brands in the UK. Below are few key points from the report.

Why are shoppers increasingly interested in veganism?

Following a plant-based diet is found to be more prevalent among young shoppers. ShopperVista research showed how 48% of young shoppers claimed that environmental concerns was one of the main reasons for following the diet.

Retailers such as Asda and Aldi dedicated webpages to Veganuary to inform shoppers about veganism, the initiative, and reasons why to choose the diet. Asda highlighted the first reason being ‘it’s better for the environment’.

Source: Asda 

How are retailers responding?

Retailers are expanding their vegan offerings to respond to the growing demand for new and exciting products. M&S is growing its vegan range and, in support of Veganuary, added several new products to its Plant Kitchen range.

These include ‘met-in-the-middle fishcakes’ and its first ever vegan cheese. The range’s breadth and exciting options makes it a one-stop shop for those on or trying plant-based diets.

Source: IGD Research 

What results have been seen?

Tesco reported the demand for plant-based foods was up by more than 35% this month compared to last Veganuary. Among the popular vegan friendly foods, Tesco’s Wiked Kitchen Hot Burrito’s sales grew 750% compared to last year. Plant Chef Vegan Burger grew by 500% and Plant Chef Spicy Bean Burger grew by more than 350%. 

Derek Sarno, Tesco’s head of plant-based food innovation said,

“The last year has seen some truly ground-breaking and tempting new plant-based foods come on the market which have encouraged more people to go vegan, whether full time or as part of the Meat-Free Monday campaign. At the beginning of this month we launched our first plant-based bakery lines and the recent extensions made to our chilled, frozen and dairy vegan ranges have been the reason why we’re seeing such strong demand.”

Looking beyond Veganuary

Veganuary is a great opportunity for brands and retailers to connect with shoppers, especially those new to the trend. Helping maintain shoppers’ interest beyond Veganuary and helping them avoid ‘Veganism fatigue’ will require companies to offer inspiration and easy meal solutions, such as home-kits.

LEON teamed up with British meat-free brand, Meatless Farm, to launch its new vegan DIY burger kit for its popular vegan LOVe burger. With dining-in services closed, LEON is bringing the restaurant experience to homes by allowing people to recreate the burger in the comfort of their own kitchens. It also launched a new Vegan Subscription Service, which costs £6 per month, and offers 30% off every vegan menu item in LEON’s restaurants worldwide.

Source: LEON

Want to know more?

Find out about more seasonal events here. Retail Analysis subscribers can read our report on Veganuary UK, 2021 here.

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