Veganuary: Brits willing to cut some foods - but would struggle without cheese

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read

Queues for Greggs' vegan steak bake as over 300,000 sign up for Veganuary

Brits would be open to cutting out meat-flavoured crisps, ice cream and cake form their diet in order to strive towards a vegan lifestyle – but admit they would struggle without foods like cheese, chicken and bacon.

Overall, almost a third of Brits are motivated to change what what they consume to try and be kinder to the planet, a study of 2,000 UK adults finds.

Chocolate, surprisingly, mayonnaise and honey are among the top foods Brits would be most willing to say goodbye to.

However, dairy products are a weak spot for those trying to achieve a vegan diet in January, with 40% revealing they'd struggle to give up cheese, and almost a third (32%) cow's milk.

Shot of a young woman using a mobile phone in a grocery store
Dairy products are an obstacle for completing Veganuary, in particular cheese (40%) and cow's milk (32%) (Getty Images)

"It's promising to see what people are willing to go without for the month of Veganuary," said Tom Benton, General Manager at Nature's Heart, the snack brand that commissioned the survey.

"The annual initiative is a great way to encourage people to try different foods and raise awareness of alternative diets."

Almost a third of respondents want to try more plant-based alternatives in 2022 and 29% would like to make some elements of their diet vegan, the study reveals.

Read more: Vegan doctors create UK's first plant-based healthcare service

Alternative types of vegan milks in glass bottles on a  concrete background. Top view
Alternative types of milk include oat, almond, soy, coconut, chickpea, rice, hemp and cashew milk (Getty Images)

Despite the willingness being there, more than a quarter believe there are limited options for vegans, and 34% admit they'd struggle to think of what to eat for a vegan breakfast.

The other most popular foods people would find most difficult to ditch include eggs (30%), yoghurt (16%), sausages (15%), and bacon (14%).

While these are often used for breakfast, a further 25% are also under the impression that vegan alternatives aren't as exciting.

However, 21% also said they don't get as excited by breakfast as a meal in general, according to the OnePoll figures.

Read more: KFC plans to 3D print chicken nuggets

Sausages, eggs and bacon among most popular foods Brits would struggle to eliminate from diet (Getty Images)
Sausages, eggs and bacon among most popular foods Brits would struggle to eliminate from diet (Getty Images)

Tom Benton added, "The research shows that people are under the impression there are limited options to create an exciting and fulfilling vegan meal, whether it's breakfast or dinner.

"We want to help people see vegan breakfasts in a different light – the top 20 foods show that people are less willing to give up breakfast items than other foods.

"But there are endless choices to create a tasty and appealing dish to start the day with."

In terms of what plant-based items people would be willing to try to increase their intake in January, the breakfast items that did rank highly include porridge oats, nuts, dried fruits, avocado and meat substitutes such as vegan bacon.

The main things people want to experience with a breakfast are something that tastes nice (51%), will fill them up (47%) and is convenient (41%).

For those who would give something up for Veganuary, 35% would expect their sacrifice not to be just a month long habit, and think it would carry on for longer, the study also found.

Read more: 21 beauty products suitable for vegans (perfect for using this veganuary)

Fried crunchy plant based vegan Bacon pieces in a cast iron skillet.
Vegan alternatives to bacon, burgers and chicken are made from ingredients like soy, seitan, jackfruit, peas, wheat, mushrooms and beans (Getty Images)

While more than a third said they already have or would consider taking part in the initiative to cut out meat, fish, dairy and animal products, more than a quarter did – or want to – to switch up their diet and make it more exciting.

Other reasons cited for doing so include improving their health (46%), doing their bit for the planet (44%), and trying new foods (43%).

Women are also more concerned about the planet, with 50% of them saying they would, or have, taken part in Veganuary for environmental purposes, compared to 39% of men, the study found.

Some 18% of those polled are eager to attempt having one vegan meal a day before committing to a completely vegan diet. A further 44% believe it would make a big difference to the planet if everyone made a small plant-based change to their diet.

Including tofu eggs, vegan sausage, beans, vegetables and toast
Re-imagining the Full English: vegan alternatives to bacon and sausages can still complete the plate (Getty Images)

Tom Benton added, "It doesn't need to take a massive amount of effort or time to be kinder to ourselves and the planet.

"If moving to a full vegan diet seems unrealistic, we can always start by making small swaps in our meals.

"Switching to a nutritious vegan breakfast is a good way to start a Veganuary journey and can set you up for the day right, give you all the energy you need and keep you fuller for longer."

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