Windows of health-consciousness as a catalyst for long-term change
Cold weather is a time for indulgence. As we brace ourselves for the Beast from the East, many of us have already given up giving up for Lent, with well-meaning health-related abstinence often going the way of New Year’s resolutions. However, for many people, it is an opportunity to discover alternative lifestyle choices that have real longevity; one of these that seems to have some real staying power is veganism. Now before we jump on the hipster-bashing bandwagon, it’s interesting to note that 8% of the UK Population prefer to eat vegan food, which rises to nearly 15% among 15-24s (GB TGI 2018 Q1).
Research for The Vegan Society and Vegan Life magazine conducted by IPSOS Mori in 2016 showed a 360% increase between 2006 and 2016 and changes in the marketplace suggest that this increase is not slowing down with 2018 reportedly being a record year for Veganuary.
Last month, London saw the opening of its first all-vegan pub The Spread Eagle, which illustrates the momentum of this attitudinal and behavioural shift. While it may seem that this trend is confined to the London bubble, particularly hipster hubs like East London, data suggests that it is widespread across the nation. Although London leads the way, with Londoners 38% more likely than average to prefer vegan food, vegan food is proving popular in Scotland too (16% more likely than average to prefer vegan food).
None of this is to suggest that the country is become completely vegan, perhaps far from it; Marketing Week suggested last year that words like vegan and vegetarianism tend to put people off. However, the rise in these areas is indicative of a shift in mentality among consumers, particularly younger audiences, towards healthy-living alternatives and environmental issues; this open, receptive mentality presents some significant opportunities for brands who can offer alternatives and enable customers to try something they might never have tried before.
McDonald’s celebrate their sustainable fishing in the US during Lent, with many Christians giving up meat and they even went as far as to launch the McVegan burger in Finland and Sweden for Veganuary, garnering rave reviews in Sweden with people increasingly open to vegan alternatives, a meat-free diet or simply trying something new and healthy.
This demonstrates the increasing number of calendar moments, both old and new, for brands to align their communications with wider societal trends like veganism and how a shift in receptiveness towards healthy-living alternatives is gaining momentum, particularly among younger audiences.
This trend is not limited to the food category, with PETA officially launching the Vegan Homeware Awards last year to give recognition to homeware brands with cruelty-free designs and this drive towards eco-friendly and sustainable approaches to consumerism shows no signs of slowing down.