Food & Drink
veganuary 2023

Veganuary: Is it cheaper?

With the cost of living crisis showing no signs of slowing, people are on the lookout for lifestyle hacks that will save a few pennies – but is Veganuary the answer, or just another overhyped fad?

MM spoke to several people taking on the Veganuary challenge, as well as the vegan charity Viva!, to find out.

Veganuary: The origins

The registered charity named ‘Veganuary’ was founded in 2014 by couple Jane Land and Matthew Glover.

They created Veganuary – a portmanteau of “vegan” and “January” – to encourage people to try veganism for the month of January, to follow the rhetoric of a time for new beginnings.

It was important to them to raise awareness of the benefits of veganism, from animal welfare and environmental protection to health and nutrition.

They also wanted to promote the message that going vegan would have a positive impact on an individual’s mental and physical health, with data from the British Nutrition Foundation showing that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of various diseases including type 2 diabetes.

In its first year 12,800 people signed up – but this month, it is estimated that more than a million people are currently boycotting animal products.

While many participants do Veganuary for health and environmental reasons, in 2023 the cost of living crisis has impacted people’s shopping and lifestyle habits.

Is it cheaper?

While it may be easier to think that cutting out expensive products such as meat and dairy may save a few pennies, it is debated as to whether Veganuary is cheaper or not.

Todd Beasy, a member of the 2023 Veganuary Support Group, said: “I am taking part in Veganuary this year to save some money.

“Whilst I do think living a meat-free lifestyle can save money, my experience so far is that it has been more expensive.

“This is because I underestimated the preparation involved. Had I have been more organised and planned my meals, I definitely believe it to be a cheaper option.”

The notion of veganism being the cheaper option, but only if you plan well, seems to be a common one – fellow Veganuary Support Group user Laurie Toubus said: “It’s all about foregoing the imitation meat.

“Just eat the real thing if you’re that desperate for the taste of meat.

“By sacking off all the fake substances, you will find yourself with lots more disposable income.”

Online vegan activist Catherine McEwan says: “By planning what meals I’m going to eat, I typically spend about 30-70p per main that I eat. Vegan curries and one pot dishes are definitely cheaper.”

Twitter user Clare Fletcher Deuchar said: “Being a teenage parent meant that I was on the lookout for ways to save money. Meat was just not something I could afford.

“However, despite going and remaining vegan, it’s not had a huge financial impact.”

The final word

Vegan charity Viva! agreed that it’s not a process to be rushed into and that in order to save pennies, you must plan and prep the meals you require well in advance.

A Viva! spokesperson told MM: “Saving money isn’t about sacrifice. Like all diets, veganism can be expensive, but only if you make it so.

“Take a notepad to the supermarket with all your essential staples written down, don’t be afraid to chop your own veg, buy in bulk and embrace the DIY kitchen mentality.”

So – despite the Veganuary movement being more prominent than ever, while you can save a few pounds from making the move, it’s best to go into the movement with a solid plan in place.

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