Pizzerias: Plan Now for Veganuary!

Above: Alex Koons’ Hot Tongue Pizza offers a delectable Supreme pizza that’s 100% vegan. Learn more about his approach here.

Every January, the Veganuary movement asks consumers to ditch the animal products for a month to kick off the new year. The U.K.-based movement celebrates its fourth year in the United States in 2023, and brands across the world (including major pizzeria names) have been hopping on board to promote their own vegan offerings for customers taking the challenge.

“In an effort to encourage more people to try vegan restaurants, recipes and food, restaurants and brands across the United States are creating unique initiatives to make plant-based options more accessible by promoting Veganuary,” reported Wendy Matthews, Veganuary’s U.S. director, in January 2022. “Every January, businesses around the world vie with one another to bring out more, bigger and better vegan products and menus to capitalize on the huge popularity of Veganuary. In 2021, there were more than 825 new vegan products and menu options launched during the month around the globe. Now, in its third year in the U.S., Veganuary is seeing an uptick in the number of businesses around the country getting involved.”

This past year, participating brands around the country and world dreamed up some enticing offers. Take some inspiration from them to get involved!

Business-Boosting Ideas for Veganuary

Last year, popular pizza chains launched new plant-based menu items for Veganuary. For example, Mellow Mushroom added two new vegan pizza limited-time offers to the menu in January. “Mellow Mushroom has long embraced veganism and other dietary lifestyle choices and needs, including offering certified gluten-free pies,” said Anne Mejia, VP of brand development. “We’re delighted to partner with Follow Your Heart and Spork Foods to create two new vegan pies—the Miss Mushroom and the Greek Goddess.”

Other retailers offered great Veganuary deals and bundles, while food brands around the country also pitched in to help support consumers and restaurants in their plant-based journeys during the month through special promotions and creative marketing campaigns. Last year, Sweet Earth Foods introduced a Veganuary Swaps campaign, with a series of Sweet Earth Veganuary recipes, developed in collaboration with a celebrity chef and culinary creators.

Plant-based consumers also hit the Veganuary jackpot with new vegan products hitting the market, like those that the Magnum ice cream brand launched last Veganuary—expanding its nondairy offerings to include a new flavor, Hazelnut Crunch, and the Mini Variety Pack, featuring Non-Dairy Classic and Non-Dairy Almond flavors in the signature Mini size.

Involving Employees in Veganuary

In addition to new product and menu launches and clever marketing campaigns, last year 75 businesses around the globe, including Papa Johns, elected to bring Veganuary into the office via the Veganuary Workplace Challenge, which encourages colleagues to take the 31-day vegan pledge as a team.

“2022 marks the first year of the Veganuary Workplace Challenge at Papa Johns, and another small step in our Plant Love mission,” explained Liz Williams, Papa Johns U.K. managing director, speaking on behalf of Papa John’s International, which encouraged staff in 45 countries to take part. “Through this global campaign, our aim is to plant love for the people, planet and communities we serve and, in doing so, demonstrate the benefits of plant-based food and how nature makes many pizza ingredients better. Milestones in our Plant Love pledge include the ongoing expansion of our plant-based and flexitarian offering, as well as plant-based and vegan industry award wins in the U.K. and Middle East. The call to sign-up to Veganuary’s 31-day challenge has been shared with colleagues in over 45 countries; many have answered, and they will be supported through January and beyond with helpful tips and plant-based recipe inspiration.”

Why You Should Participate in Veganuary

According to a YouGov survey conducted in 2022 by Veganuary, a whopping 31% of Americans are interested in eating a plant-based/vegan diet but have certain reservations, with the top concerns being that they don’t think they could stick with it (13%), have concerns about affordability (10%), and want meal plans and recipes (9%). Keep these barriers in mind when creating, marketing and menuing your vegan items. You might even find great success by offering vegan options to-go so that people can take the guesswork out of vegan meals at home.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the free, ongoing support offered by Veganuary. The organization prioritizes working with brands to offer special cost-saving discounts to participants throughout the month. “I think the remarkable level of interest in eating plant-based as we enter the new year is due in part to Americans becoming aware of the incredible influence our food choices have on our day-to-day well-being and the health of our planet,” Matthew said. “Businesses also play a huge role in the shift by continuing to bring innovative and delicious meat, dairy and egg replacements to the market, which make eating plant-based so much easier—and more delicious.”

Start planning now to get involved in Veganuary! A great place to start is by downloading the Veganuary Business Support Toolkit for tips, assets, and ideas, available at veganuary.com or by contacting uscorporate@veganuary.com.

Veganuary, a nonprofit organization that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond, was founded in the U.K. in 2014—and, since then, more than 1.5 million people have taken the 31-day plant-based pledge to help the planet, reduce animal suffering, and benefit people, too. This New Year’s revolution has been embraced by businesses, so get creative and start thinking about your own ideas on getting involved!

Related Articles