Veganuary, the campaigning organisation, has more than doubled the number of people who have pledged to try a vegan diet for the first month of the year and is extending its campaign into Germany, the US and Chile.

Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s International Head of Communications and Marketing, told the Guardian that there had been 102,000 sign-ups by December 15, 127% up on a year earlier.

While the actual numbers may not seem huge in terms of the overall population, there are many more who will follow the same path separately: a Kantar study showed that a total of 1.31m people gave up animal products in January 2019.

Few people signing up will go on to become completely vegan, but there is a groundswell of consumers who are termed “flexitarians” and who are actively reducing the amount of meat they eat.

When bakery chain Greggs launched a vegan sausage roll for Veganuary 2019, for example, its success surprised even itself (read more in WARC’s report: Why Greggs is on a (vegan) roll.). And it seems that in 2020, businesses are anxious not to be left behind.

Vernelli reported that “the number of companies getting in touch with us who are launching products is truly mind blowing. It does just seem to be everywhere.” More than 200 new vegan products and menus were launched in the UK for Veganuary 2019 and the figure is likely to be even higher in 2020,  with all the major supermarket chains tapping into the trend.

The challenge for brands is how best to pitch their offer. For bigger companies, like Greggs, it’s easier to appeal across the board, but smaller outfits and start-ups may find it more useful to appeal to a niche audience.

But whichever option is taken, brands need to remember there are many reasons why a consumer might choose vegan products, and animal welfare is only one; there may be health and environmental factors at work as well.

The biggest problem many brands may have, British Baker suggests, is convincing the skeptical consumer that vegan products can taste as good as anything else.

Sourced from the Guardian, Veganuary, British Baker; additional content by WARC staff