Survey suggests 83 per cent of those dropping meat and dairy in January 2022 will also now make long-term changes to their diet

More than a third of people who opted to ditch meat and dairy for ‘Veganuary’ at the start of the year have since decided to permanently follow a plant-based diet, citing a raft of reasons including animal welfare, health and environmental benefits, the results of a new survey suggest.

Moreover, 83 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would be making permanent changes to their diets as a result of their initial month-long commitment, according to Veganuary.

The global plant-based campaign has picked up growing traction in recent years, with almost 630,000 people officially committing to ditching animal products in January through the Veganuary website this year. The annual campaign has also been seized upon by food companies with a raft of new meat-free food and drinks products hitting the shelves.

In a survey of those signed up to the 2022 campaign carried out by Veganuary – which drew more than 32,500 responses from countries including the UK, USA, India, and Germany – 36 per cent said they now planned to “go fully vegan”, while another 47 per cent plan to reduce their consumption of animal products by at least half.

Almost half – 44 per cent – of respondents said animal welfare was the number one motivation for trying a vegan diet, followed by around a fifth who cited personal health or environmental concerns as their top reason for ditching meat and dairy.

The survey also offers an insight into why participants had decided to continue following a vegan diet for the long term. The most common reason, cited by 25 per cent of respondents, was that they had learned more about veganism. Other reasons included improved health and the ease with which they could follow the diet.

However, despite the food industry has increasingly embracing vegan options in recent years, with fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, McDonalds and KFC all adding plant-based meals to their menus, more than a quarter of respondents said that eating out still posed the biggest challenge during Veganuary.

Meanwhile, 16 per cent said craving non-vegan foods was the biggest obstacle, with 40 per cent of respondents citing cheese as the non-vegan food they missed the most.

This year, more than 75 businesses including M&S, Volkswagen, Harrods, Superdrug and Sky vowed to encourage staff to embrace more sustainable diets in January. The firms promised to encourage their staff to cut meat and dairy from their diets throughout the month, setting a ‘workplace challenge’, which commits employers to providing a wider range of plant-based food for their staff, as well as running events and educational initiatives that promote vegan diets.

Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s head of communications, said: “It’s great to have so many businesses putting their values into action by taking part in Veganuary’s workplace challenge. It’s a fun way to unite their teams in a shared experience while demonstrating their commitment to reducing their impact on the planet and improving the health and wellbeing of their employees.”

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