Veganuary and a New Era of Ethical Consumerism

January 2024, by Ettie Etela

As we come hurtling into a new year, with the merry gluttony of Christmas behind us and looking into the long winter, many choose between habitual consumerism and ethical consumption.

Veganuary, a campaign that once started as a humble British initiative, has now become an international call to embrace a plant-based lifestyle for at least a month. Veganuary represents a journey of ethical awakening where our choices reflect our moral standpoints.


According to Statista, January 2022 saw more than 629 thousand individuals globally embracing Veganuary, marking a surge of more than triple the number of participants in 2018, reflective of the growing popularity of plant-based diets and an indicator of the shifting consumer consciousness towards more ethically sourced products. The UK, being the birthplace of Veganuary, alongside India and the US, saw the highest number of sign-ups, creating a trident of change in a world grappling with the repercussions of climate change and animal agriculture.

The after-effects of Veganuary continue to have an impact after the month-long vegan voyage. A Guardian report states that 23% of non-vegan participants decided to stay on the green side, while 43% reduced their consumption of animal products by at least half, and a further 20% reduced it by between a quarter and a half. For the many people who participate, this isn’t just a culinary transformation; it’s a push to more conscious consumption.

The ripple effect of this ethical consumerism is significant. According to a UBS survey, the proportion of individuals trying plant-based meat alternatives rose from 48% to 53% between March and November 2020 in the UK, US, and Germany. This shift reflects a deeper, more profound change in consumer preferences, driven by a blend of ethical, environmental, and health considerations.

Consumers with robust moral convictions tend to gravitate towards ethical products that align with their values and beliefs according to The Ethical Consumer Research Association. There are multi-layered motivations behind ethical consumption, ranging from social identity expression and enhanced self-image to a quest for higher quality and product performance.

The narrative of Veganuary is closely aligned with the consumer perspectives we see in our Say Do Sustainability Study (SDSS), our study to help businesses navigate consumer perspectives in the realm of sustainability. The SDSS helps business leaders align business practices with the shifting tides of consumer preferences.

As we approach a new era, the correlation between veganism and ethical consumerism is a positive outcome in the global business ethos. The spectrum of consumer choices is becoming increasingly influenced by eco-friendliness, and as we enter a new year, the Veganuary movement is a sign of the evolving consumer narrative – it is a story where ethics and commerce coexist in harmony with sustainability.

If you want more information about how consumer research can help your business grow, enhance sustainability, and foster meaningful connections with your brand or product, feel free to contact us at MM-Eye.