Tabitha Brown, a small North Carolina town turned vegan influencer, grew up eating whatever was on offer, which sometimes included squirrels, turtles and possums.
“Don’t judge me, okay?” She laughs during one of her refreshing and candid social media videos.
Brown, who remembers thinking veganism was only for whites, hard-core animal activists and ‘cool kids’, won’t make you feel guilty either – but she’ll lovingly make you ditch meat and produce. dairy. And if all you can do is go vegan, well, that’s a start.
Brown, who now has a social audience of 9 million, is the face of Veganuary, a movement that encourages people to go vegan for a month. The program has spent the last seven years mainstreaming the UK’s mainstream consciousness, eventually spanning Britain to 192 countries.
It arrived in the United States last year with massive Hollywood backing – including A-List activists like Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone and Natalie Portman – and has become a buzz-worthy New Years resolution.
With its recent second year kickoff, it is growing rapidly, linking up with nearly 100 brands like Costco, Yelp, Robeks, Albertsons and Nestle, adding Brown to its list of celebrity evangelists and signing 80,000 U.S. attendees. , a jump of almost 50% compared to 2020..
The non-profit group behind the program, which continues to grow globally, surpassed 500,000 registrations for 2021, the largest consumer audience ever pledged to go vegan for the month and potentially beyond.
“In the second year, we are looking to expand our reach by bringing in a wider range of brands, retailers and restaurants,” said Wendy Matthews, US director of Veganuary.
As the centerpiece of the launch, Brown stars in a 40-second technicolor video that shows her eating a variety of plant-based dishes while, forgive the meaty pun, hammering it. She accidentally receives a bit of extra protein in her meal, from a pesky bug, leading to the slogan, “No one is perfect. Let’s try anyway.
Brown, an actor who was named PETA’s 2020 Person of the Year, “embodies the spirit of Veganuary – warm, welcoming, empowering and non-judgmental,” Matthews said.
Its video has racked up more than 580,000 views on digital platforms, while Veganuary has been trending on TikTok with 77 million video views.
The flexitarian wave
A free program, Veganuary targets consumers who are reluctant to go full-time vegans, but are willing to test the waters with a short-term trial. The timing is good, given the plant food boom in the USA
Consumers cited health, animal welfare and environmental concerns, in that order, as the motivation for ditching meat and dairy in January, according to a Kantar study conducted by Veganuary UK participants from 2019. statistics closely mirror the reasons American consumers have given for switching to more plant-based foods during the pandemic).
The majority of Veganuary fans around the world identify as omnivorous, according to group data. In the United States, omnivores (53%) and flexitarians (36%) outnumber vegans (3%), pescatarians (3%) and vegetarians (5%), according to researcher Packaged Facts, and are coveted demos for fast growing brands like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Oatly, and Just Egg. (Some estimates put flexitarians at 70% of the American population, fueled by the coronavirus crisis, meat shortages and Covid-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses).
Brand Bonanza, “ bigger than Christmas ”
Veganuary brought together nearly 100 brands in the United States – up from 35 in the first year – that offer free plant-based side dishes (Mendocino Farms), discounts on juices, salads, and smoothies (Robeks, Just Salad), editorial content (Costco’s monthly flyer), recipe guides (Hellmann’s) and Veganuary-themed menus (Veggie Grill).