More people have signed up to the Veganuary pledge this year than ever before. At the time of writing a record-breaking 500,000 people had committed to eating only plant-based food during the first month of the year.
Many will have taken the plunge for ethical or health reasons. However, the realisation that what we choose to eat is one of the most influential ways we can reduce our carbon footprint is also influencing Veganuarians. In fact, 18% of people who committed to Veganuary in 2020 cited the environment as their reason for signing up.
There is no doubt that the food we choose to put on our plates has a huge impact on the planet. Our Future 50 Foods report, published by Knorr in 2019 with the WWF-UK, clearly highlighted this fact and provided a guide to help everyone identify the planet-friendly foods we should all be eating more of.
How we’re helping to make plant-based food mainstream
Since then, our commitment to making plant-based food accessible, affordable and appetising has continued to grow. In our recent Future Foods announcement, for example, we committed to hitting a €1 billion annual sales target for meat and dairy alternatives over the next 5–7 years.
“It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat,” said Hanneke Faber, President of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment division. “But it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all.”
Our brands have been eager to take up this challenge. The Vegetarian Butcher’s plant-based meats, for example, are now available in more than 45 countries on four continents, while behind the scenes food innovators at The Hive, our research centre at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, are leading research into plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives.