It’s the end of January and the results are in: a record number of 250,000 people signed up to Veganuary this year.
This really is a phenomenal achievement for veganism, and, to put it in perspective, that is the total number of the previous four years of the campaign combined.
So is going plant-based the big new trend? According to an article I saw the other day, it is the new 'rock n' roll'. Well, I'm not sure about that, but the fact this question is even being asked shows how far it has come from a fringe lifesyle choice and all the jokes that went with it.
For pubs in the past few Januarys the fight has been between Dry January and Try January, but this year it felt Veganuary broke into the mainstream. Pubs responded to this really well. The seitan burger featured in February’s Inapub magazine outsold all the meat burgers at the Fence in Farringdon this month. That should make any publican sit up and take notice.
Where has this shift come from? Perhaps it is best to look at veganism within the wider health trends across the UK. The younger generation may appear to live in their phones – but they also live in the gym. They live for health, in fact, and ‘wellbeing’ is probably their generational rebellion. Maybe, spin classes are their rock n’ roll.
Really? Well, it’s not that much of a surprise. The indulgence of Generation X and the Baby Boomers must look shocking to teenagers and those in their early twenties. The tabloid headlines about obesity, diabetes and cancer must be taking their toll on the habits of millions of under-30s. There has been a widespread public health campaign in the past twenty years – maybe we are finally seeing the fruits of that?
Looking at all the stories this month about Veganuary, what really stood out was how people ‘identify’ as vegan - it is a lifestyle choice not just a diet. But even the type of lifestyle choice it represents has shifted in recent times. In the past, veganism was very much a fringe option, but now sports stars like David Haye and celebrities like Ariana Grande have embraced it. Being vegan is cool and fashionable.
It’s important to think about this fact when creating dishes: explain the ethical sourcing, how the dish helps the environment, how it represents their lifestyle choice. That is how they see their veganism.
Rock n’ roll? Maybe not – but at present, it’s going to grow and grow. Never has it been more crucial to have vegan dishes on your menu.
Check out Inapub’s content on veganism below: