The Coronavirus has motivated a record number of people signing up for Veganuary in 2021.
Veganuary, a charity which allows people to sign up on their website all year round for 31 days of vegan recipes and a free cookbook, has collected more than 560,000 signups in the new year – the highest since it was started in 2014.
Toni Vernelli, from Veganuary, said the expansion in veganism was spotted in March last year, when the pandemic began.
“We weren’t really surprised, we knew since the Covid pandemic hit there was an increase of interest in a vegan diet, and from that time we actually saw our signups go up…So we expected this to be our biggest year ever, definitely,” said Vernelli.
According to a survey conducted by the charity in the summer of those who had already signed up, 30% of them were encouraged to eat a plant-based diet because of the Coronavirus.
Of those, 70% did so to be healthier, more than 40% said because they had more time to cook, and another 40% said because of the link between animal farming and pandemics.
Vernelli added the demand in vegan products had grown significantly and she believed that the interest in veganism would not fade away even post-Covid.
“I’m very very hopeful. The more we learn about the environment and the impact that animal farming has, it is just inevitable that people will realise that we cannot continue with our current western diet,” she said.
Davinia Fielding-Cooke, a university student who has joined the movement for the first time, made the decision after reading two books and joining a Twitter community, which motivated her to help the environment.
“So I definitely think coronavirus gave me a lot of time to educate myself about the world…because I had much more spare time, I was teaching myself new things, and helping the environment was one of them,” said the student.
Compared to her last vegan trial, which was in November 2019 and for a charity, she feels much better this time.
“I was so strict on myself. If I had one thing that wasn’t vegan I was so harsh on myself, but this time I’m being more flexible… This time it is so different because I feel so open-minded.” she said.
The student credits her change in mentality to social media. “I see a lot of people posting about the ‘imperfect vegan’, so it is ok to have things wrong sometime,” she said.