The Lowdown: Veganuary

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Lowdown: Veganuary

Related tags: Veganism, Vegan society

The campaign to get people to follow a plant-based diet for the month of January is gaining momentum. Is the future green?

No prizes for guessing what this is about.
Quite. The clue is in the word, really. Veganuary is a campaign, promoted by the charity of the same name, that encourages people to follow a vegan diet for the first month of the year.

So a ‘dry January’ for milk drinkers then?
And eaters of meat, eggs and honey among other things. And while it’s not quite as popular as the month-long pledge of abstinence, which sees some five million people drop the booze in January, it’s gaining ground. According to Veganuary, 120,000 people around the world now commit to go vegan at the start of the year, up from just 3,000 in 2014, when the campaign began.

That’ll be mainly Californians though, won’t it? They love a fad diet
You’d have thought so, but no. The US is only second in the Veganuary stakes, behind the UK. In fact, according to the Vegan Society, there are now 542,000 vegans in the UK, more than three times as many as a decade ago, and nearly half of these are aged between 15 and 34 years old.

Sounds like there’s money to be made here...
You don’t miss a trick. And neither are many restaurants this year. Brands such as Rosa’s Thai, Wagamama​, Comptoir Libanais and YO! Sushi have all launched vegan dishes and many more are also getting in on the action. This month Indian wrap chain Rola Wala is promoting its vegan black bean noodle dish and Indigo Restaurant in Leicester is even hosting a vegan meet up, offering customers a chance to chat and learn more about Veganuary (and also eat some vegan food).

London-based vegetarian restaurant group Tibits is going one step further with a number of vegan events, including a Veganuary panel talk of vegan experts at its Bankside restaurant on 16 January. Speakers include personal trainer Laurence Fountain, who specialises in body transformation for vegans.

Even steakhouses are getting in on the act: Gillray’s Steakhouse in the London Marriott Hotel County Hall is offering a three-course vegan menu throughout January. And if that wasn’t leftfield enough, pizza restaurant Four Hundred Rabbits has created a Veganuary special made with peanut butter, as well as squash, beetroot, chickpeas, onions, celery and sultanas.

This is getting a bit silly. Thank goodness it’s just for a month.
Don’t be too sure. With the numbers of vegans swelling year on year, vegan dishes are going to be a year-round feature of many places in 2018. including well-established chains like Zizzi​. ​Brighton-based vegan pizzeria Purezza​ is making its London debut next month in Camden and cult vegan fried chicken shop Temple of Seitan​ has also chosen Camden for its second restaurant. US vegan chain By Chloe will open not one but two London restaurants this year, as well. And expect to see more vegan concepts opening this year once US plant-based company Beyond Meat brings its famous meat-free Beyond Burger to the UK​.

I give up.
I think that’s the idea.

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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