Veganuary 2024: Success or failure?

‘Veganuary’ takes place each year in the period of abstinence after Christmas that also involves ‘Dry January​’. With animal products being a prime example of something consumers are looking to give up, it would seem likely that such an event would mean a correlative increase in the consumption of plant-based meat and dairy.

Yet with the slowdown​, or ‘shakedown​’, of the plant-based meat category in 2023, and the cost-of-living crisis putting a strain on the wallets of so many consumers, did 2024’s Veganuary sales survive in their former glory?

Judging campaign success

Veganuary is not just a broad-brush name for a dietary trend, but a formal campaign. Toni Vernelli, international head of policy and communications at the campaign, does not believe that the cost-of-living has had a significant impact on vegan diets in general, but leads consumers to move away from more expensive​ brands, and even products such as plant-based meat.

“The cost-of-living crisis has not diminished people’s desire to buy eco-friendly products; they have simply shifted away from some of the brand-named plant-based products to own-label products or more wholefood items such as lentils, chickpeas, baked beans, and tofu which are incredibly inexpensive – especially when compared to meat,” she told FoodNavigator.

Private label​ plant-based brands have proliferated in the past few years. According to Kantar data, in 2023 supermarkets saw a 21% uplift in sales across their own-brand plant-based ranges during Veganuary. “Due to increased consumer demand, Aldi launched its biggest-ever vegan range and its frozen Plant Menu range saw a massive 200% increase in sales on Veganuary 2022. Asda launched two new vegan brands – OMV! and Plant Based by Asda.”