SPECIAL REPORT: “Veganuary” Offers Early Year Marketing Boost for Vegan Products
11 Jan 2016 --- Given The Vegan Society’s estimate of 300,000 vegans in the UK alone, and an ever expanding amount in Europe and the U.S. – there has never been a better time for consumers and producers to take a closer look into vegan friendly products.
The vegan way of living, which revolves around a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey, as well as products such as leather and any tested on animals, is also gaining traction worldwide. Claims such as “vegan friendly” or “suitable for vegans” are being used to differentiate from regular vegetarian product lines. Innova Market Insights reports a 60% increase in product launches with a vegan claim in 2013 from 2012, and a further 52% increase in 2014 from 2013, indicating that food manufacturers are indeed accommodating this lifestyle trend. In 2008, 1.1% of all tracked global launches featured this word, while in 2014 this had more than doubled, with 2.6% of all launches tracked carrying a claim such as “suitable for vegans.” The leading market sub-categories in 2014 for vegan claims on a global basis were juice & juice drinks (5.4%), cereal & energy bars (5%) and savory/salty snacks (4.9%).
There are so many explanations why people decide to try veganism. For many, a love of animals is the catalyst and for some they believe in the health benefits that being vegan brings. Others would like to set themselves a challenge, and many combine Veganuary with their ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and perceive going vegan as the healthiest start to the year.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding “Veganuary” and many companies have jumped on board. Since launching back in 2014, the organization have dedicated themselves to change public attitudes and encourage people to make positive lifestyle changes.
Jane Land is one of the founders of Veganuary and tells FoodIngredientsFirst the campaign has seen a significant increase in numbers over the past three years: “We are now at an astonishing participant number of 22,000, compared to 12,800 last year and 3,300 in the first year. We are really pleased and as a result of this we estimate that 1,596,180 animals' lives have been saved.”
The long term ambition is to make Veganuary a recognizable monthly pledge worldwide: “We want to change public attitudes about veganism, to make it more mainstream and the transition to be as easy and enjoyable as possible. As such, one of our goals is to make it as accessible for people to join. Translating Veganuary.com into other languages is part of this. At the moment we have our information page written in Spanish, Chinese, Italian and German. The plan is to get the whole site translated in the future.”
Land would love to see people stay vegan after January: “Our resources and online communications will continue to be available from February onwards. We’ll be in contact with participants and put in place the support networks that are so important to people to remain vegan long-term. We survey participants after January and six month on. Last year, of those survey respondents, 51% said they would be staying vegan and the majority of the other participants said they would be reducing their consumption of animal products”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are dedicated to the protection of animals worldwide. FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to their Associate Director, Elisa Allen, who talks about the rise in requests of vegan starter packs since the Veganuary campaign began: “Orders for PETA's vegan starter kits have surged every year – from 28,300 in 2014 to a whopping 35,000 in 2015 and there was a record-number of orders for them, 7,415 in total, between 1 December 2015 and 7 January 2016.”
Allen believes that people who initially take the vegan pledge do so as they are more swayed by animal welfare: “In my experience most people often go vegan because they've seen eyewitness investigations documenting the filthy, crowded conditions which the vast majority of animals raised and killed for food are forced to endure. Everyone's reason for taking part is unique but people eager to help animals have everything to gain by going vegan in the new year, or any time of year.”
PETA want people to embrace the challenge: “Eating vegan can be a lot of fun. People frequently report to us that when they go vegan, the variety of food they eat explodes from centre-of-the-plate meat items to a vast range of grains, legumes and vegetable that they didn’t even know existed.”
There are so many pro vegan companies around the globe offering support to people thinking about taking part. Brian Jacobs is the web owner of veganlondon.co.uk and he has been vegan for about 27 years. He told FoodIngredientsFirst he supports the campaign: “My advice to those taking part in Veganuary is to embrace the internet, connect with other vegans online to get support, and check out the resources not only from our own site but also health resources from the likes of Dr Michael Greger and Dr Neal Barnard. As far as eating out, our website veganlondon.co.uk provides listing of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in London, whilst happycow.net provides such information worldwide.”
What Vegan food products are readily available?
FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to Vic Sjodin, the director of American organization, Vegan Outreach. He firmly believes that the Veganuary movement is quickly driving up demand for vegan produce: “Veganism, and eating less meat is the future. And the future is here. Veganuary is a strong component of the activist movement introducing people to delicious vegan eating. Tofurkey products, for example, were just introduced in the UK and they can barely keep up with demand and had to expensively air freight product because there were selling so fast.”
Sjodin adds: “Supply creates demand. As there are more great vegan products as people become exposed and realize being vegan is not some alien thing, we are all vegan part of the time, and see that vegan food is delicious and then you think about the fact no one had to die for it. Veganism is great not only for health, sustainability and clearly the animals, but its also good for the astute business man or woman that there are a lot of vegan dollars out there, and there's a flood more coming so the time to introduce vegan products and build brand loyalty is now.”
Leading meat substitute brand, Quorn, have interestingly met with consumer demands for vegan produce. Most vegetarian Quorn products contain egg albumen and mycoprotein which, when combined can adjust in texture and be pressed into various forms.
FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to Peter Harrison, marketing director at Quorn: “The Quorn Vegan Range has been over three years in development and during that time, we’ve seen a real shift in the number of consumers choosing to adopt a vegan lifestyle and a massive increase in demand, particularly apparent across our digital channels. We have been impressed by four consumer-led petitions in support of a Quorn Vegan Range."
Harrison expects more and more people to adopt veganism, possibly as a result of the Veganuary campaign: “Consumers – both existing Quorn buyers and new customers have been asking us for some time to provide a solution for vegans. So, as we know a lot of people eat Quorn as part of a vegetarian lifestyle before becoming vegan, we’re thrilled to be able to now offer products which are tasty and deliver on the great texture expected of Quorn, whilst following a vegan recipe.”
Harrison is thrilled that the launch of the new Vegan range and Veganuary have complemented each other so well: “We have seen a fantastic start to the first months of Vegan and although it wasn’t originally planned to coincide with Veganuary, product sales have exceeded expectations and we hope to see the success continue.”
Quorn hope that it wont be just vegans who are trying out the range: “71 percent of current Quorn consumers do also eat meat, rather than be strict vegetarians. The trend towards vegan and “flexitarian” diets does not seem to be slowing down, which we are in support of. We believe a healthy approach to a good diet all about moderation and many of our customers already seem to adopt this.”
by Elizabeth Kenward
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.