In its eighth year, Veganuary – a movement which seeks to inspire people to try a plant-based existence for 31 days for the benefit of our planet, animals and their own health – has gained a record 500,000 sign ups this year with a huge 25% of those being Brits.

The Veganuary challenge, which has surpassed last year’s record of 400,000 and has seen participants from over 192 countries, encourages people to be more environmentally conscious by adopting a plant-based lifestyle throughout the month of January. With interest growing, The Vegan Society predicts that by 2025 a quarter of Brits will be vegan or vegetarian.

There are varying reasons that people choose to accept the challenge and in 2020, 38% of people said they did it for their health, 37% for animals, and 18% to protect the environment. Organisers of the challenge, which boasts the likes of Paul McCartney, Alicia Silverstone and Sara Pascoe as ambassadors, suggest that this year’s increase could be due to larger numbers of people experimenting with animal-free diets during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rise in participation and demand for vegan products led to the launch of more than 1,200 new vegan products and menus in the UK in 2020 alone proving for many, veganism is for life, not just for Veganuary.

Annie Mitchell, co-founder and chief executive of vegan-friendly Bottleshot Cold Brew Coffee, said: “We’re seeing a global shift towards vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. This is no longer a small subset of customers seeking alternatives in the health aisles, but instead we’re seeing a cultural shift in how we think about eating. Whether you’re interested in animal rights, health & wellness and/or environmental benefits, we all simply want to eat healthier to feel better in body and mind, without giving up the fundamental joys of eating and drinking”.

It is not only vegans and vegetarians using cruelty-free products but also flexitarians – those who primarily stick to a vegan diet but occasionally eat meat or fish.

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