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The number of shoppers participating in the Veganuary and Dry January campaigns are increasing, particularly among the younger population, market research from IGD shows.

Environmental (17%) and health (15%) concerns, along with experimentation (15%), turned out as the major drivers of the campaign.

Four percent of all shoppers claim to have taken part in Veganuary this year, up from 2 percent of shoppers who are vegan all the time.

The number of shoppers that took part in Veganuary doubled the proportion of those who are vegan all of the time. A quarter of this group kept it up for the whole of January and one in ten belonged to the age group of 18-24.

Among those that kept it up for a couple of weeks or the whole month, 16 percent plan to stay vegan for the whole of 2019, and 7 percent plan to keep it up on an ongoing basis.

“We can see that most of these shoppers claim to have felt a benefit, whether that is feeling more socially conscious or feeling healthier. However, with only a very small number planning to continue a vegan lifestyle going forward, and with a relatively low proportion of people taking this approach all year round, overall full-time veganism is still relatively niche,” said Vanessa Henry, Shopper Insight Manager at IGD.

Significantly, the period also saw more shoppers (6%) adopting a flexitarian approach in January, which is mainly vegetarian yet still allows for the occasional meat dish.

Half of these said they saw it through for the month and among those who kept it up for a couple of week or the whole month, 22 percent said they will continue the approach indefinitely.

Health was the prime mover, with 28% adopting this diet to improve their overall health, another 22 percent for losing weight and a further 15 percent to improve fitness.

“More shoppers say they adopted a ‘flexitarian’ approach to their diet in January by cutting down on meat, rather than eliminating it entirely. This is representative of a broader trend we see throughout the year, whether it’s just for one meal or one day a week such as Meat Free Monday,” Henry commented.

“This suggests plant-based products being launched on the market now won’t just be confined to the small proportion of shoppers who identify more regularly with veganism, they will appeal to a much broader group of shoppers. Both retailers and suppliers are responding to this interest in plant-based products, launching a significant number of new and interesting alternatives.”

As for Dry January, over one in ten (11%) of shoppers claimed to have participated in the campaign, rising to 19 percent among 18-24 year olds.

More than half of this group kept it up for the whole month and among those who kept it up for a couple of weeks or the month, 56 percent say they will keep it up for the next month at least, and 8 percent intend to continue on a long-term basis.

The top reason for giving up alcohol was to improve overall health (38%), with another 29 percent making the decision to lose weight. 23 percent opted for Dry January to save money

Shoppers also tried a number of different tactics to live healthier lives in January, with the top being eating more fruit and vegetables (14%) and giving up alcohol (11%) and sugar (9%).