Local support for Veganuary shows plant-based sector continues to grow
2023 saw the 10th year of Veganuary, the global pledge to try a vegan diet for the month of January, reaching record-breaking sign-ups. In South Africa, numerous restaurants, food manufacturers, and grocery stores continue to make it easier for those who are cutting back on animal products by offering a bigger range of plant-based alternative products.
According to ProVeg South Africa, the local NGO partner for Veganuary, approximately 38 new plant-based products were released in South Africa this January, just slightly less than in 2022.
Several giants in the local food sector, like Woolworths, vida e caffè, and Kauai offered new plant-based products or specials nationwide throughout the month, encouraging South Africans to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and make healthier choices.
Woolworths recently launched their new PlantLove range, a wide range of vegan products ranging from the prepared meals section all the way to the cheese aisle.
We encourage our customers to make better food choices that are also kinder to the planet,” said Daisy Masiangoako, senior marketing manager at Woolworths South Africa.
“We also want to partner with our customers by making their well-being journey easy and achievable. Our aim is to help customers navigate through this period and empower them to stick to their New Year’s resolutions.”
“Veganuary is a popular initiative that South Africans take part in and we wanted to be right there with what our customers are going through by providing them with a wide range of relevant, delicious, and convenient solutions for this period. The partnership with ProVeg creates ongoing support for customers who want to continue their plant-based journey.”
Woolworths also encouraged their newsletter subscribers to take part in the challenge
Vida e caffè helped South Africans celebrate by offering special deals on Meatless Mondays during January and promoting Veganuary in their stores nationwide.
“vida e caffè is committed to growing our vegan and plant-based range as it fits perfectly within our vida e Mundo (Life & the World) sustainability journey and being ‘Better Together’,” said Fahiem Frizlar, vida e caffè Marketing Executive.
“Highlighting Veganuary across all of our stores nationwide over the January period has definitely showcased our wide range of vegan items as well the benefits of going vegan.”
Kauai also jumped on board again to actively take part in Veganuary 2023. They offered customers several in-store and app specials, encouraged sign-ups through their newsletter, and promoted their Smart Meals Plant Powered Plan which is 100% plant-based.
“After being ranked as the most plant-based friendly quick service restaurant in South Africa in 2022 by ProVeg South Africa, we have again pulled out all the stops to make this Veganuary an easy and exciting one.”
Smaller companies did not back down this January and stood as examples for other establishments.
Manufacturers like Güdness Plant Based Deli, Infinite Foods, Outcast Foods, Simply Delish, Urban Vegan, OKJA, Red Espresso, Pesto Princess, and On The Green Side all came to the table with new and improved products or specials to invite South Africans to expand their thinking around food.
Some of the new product highlights in and around Veganuary include Buttanutt’s new Chocolate Oat Milk, three new plant milks from Wellness Warehouse along with several snacks, and a range of plant-based ready meal products and snacks from Pick n Pay.
While Veganuary has mostly been an individual challenge, for organisations wanting to promote healthier, more sustainable eating in the workplace, there is the Veganuary Workplace Challenge This year, leading wellness retailer, Wellness Warehouse, encouraged its employees to give Veganuary a try and had ProVeg South Africa visit to speak to them about the many benefits of following a plant-based diet. Afterwards, they surprised the team with Fry’s Meat-Free Chicken-Style Nuggets, proving how tasty and convenient plant-based eating can be
“Most South Africans love eating meat, so trying something like Veganuary might seem like a big sacrifice,” said Donovan Will, ProVeg South Africa Country Director. “But once they try a good meat replacement product they’re at least open to trying to replace some of their meat with plant-based options.”
According to Veganuary, a vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly diet. They calculated that one person eating a vegan diet for a month will “save 124 900 litres of water, 84 square metres of forest and 273 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions”, making it more effective than giving up a car for a month.
Local media also took interest in the growing popularity of plant-based eating. The Expresso morning show featured Veganuary-related content throughout January and even had Will on air to speak about the challenge alongside a cooking segment using Woolworth’s new PlantLove range.
Plant-Based dairy alternatives. Photo: ProVeg South Africa
What comes after Veganuary?
For those that missed Veganuary or took the challenge and would like to continue their plant-based food journey, The ProVeg Veggie Challenge is the perfect solution.
The ProVeg Veggie Challenge is a free 30-day challenge to try eating more plant-based. It’s better for your health, better for the planet, and better for animals. ProVeg assists you with daily emails containing free tips, recipes, and support.
Individuals can choose their 30-day challenge of choice, between a vegan, vegetarian, or reduced meat intake challenge (think Green Mondays). After signing up, individuals will receive daily emails with handy tips and recipes.
Over 30 000 South Africans signed up for the Veggie Challenge since 2019.
More about Veganuary
Veganuary is an annual challenge run by a UK nonprofit organisation that promotes and educates about veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Since the event began in 2014, more than 1 million people have taken part in Veganuary, with more than 629 000 people signing up during 2023.
On local soil, food awareness organisation ProVeg South Africa continues to create awareness about the campaign as its official local NGO partner. Last year, the food awareness organisation facilitated 70% of all South African sign-ups to the challenge. This year marks the third year of their partnership with Veganuary.
Some world-famous participants of the challenge who have also donated recipes to the cookbook include Queen lead-guitarist Brian May, Beatles bassist Paul McCartney, actors Joaquin Phoenix and Evanna Lynch, as well as Dragon’s Den UK’s Deborah Meaden.
The campaign now has official chapters in seven countries and has attracted participants from every country in the world except North Korea.
Thousands of vegan products and menu options have been launched around the world during Veganuary to capitalise on the ever-increasing number of people taking on the pledge.
ProVeg South Africa – the official local NGO partner for Veganuary in South Africa
Arleen Nel – Communications Manager: [email protected]; +27 72 649 2346
About ProVeg South Africa:
ProVeg South Africa is the local branch of ProVeg International. ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited with UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.