We're mid-way through Veganuary: an ongoing challenge that sees people adopting a plant-based diet for the first month of the year.
A successful Veganuary attempt typically demands, among other things, identifying a vast array of delectable recipes to make yet more tofu taste delicious for the month ahead. But as arduous as that prospect might be, the task of recreating meaty meals without the animal element isn't the main deterrent for reluctant would-be vegans.
Nope. It's dairy. Or, rather, a lack of it.
In research commissioned by snack brand Nature’s Heart, which polled 2,000 carnivorous Brits, most respondents stated they would be feel comfortable ditching meat-flavoured crisps, ice cream, cake, chocolate, mayonnaise, and honey in order to maintain a vegan lifestyle.
But 40 per cent said they'd struggle to give up cheese, while 32 per cent couldn't contemplate life without cow's milk. That's despite the fact that almost one third of those polled said they intend to try more plant-based alternatives in 2022 with a view to being kinder to the planet, with 29 per cent willing to make some elements of their diet greener.
Brie and cheddar aside, breakfast favourites were among the foodstuffs people reckoned they'd find hardest to resist – including eggs (30 per cent), yoghurt (16 per cent), sausages (15 per cent) and bacon (14 per cent) – with 34 per cent saying they would struggle to think of what to eat for a plant-based breakfast. (continued below)
Despite more companies, restaurants, supermarkets and fast-food chains offering vegan-friendly options than ever before, one in four maintained that vegan alternatives simply aren't as exciting as meat and dairy options, be it "steak" bakes at Greggs, faux sliced ham at Tesco, or one of the many plant-based "mylk" options.
It's not all bad news, however. The study also found that 35 per cent of those willing to take on the challenge would expect to continue their new plant-based habits past the end of the month. And they'd be in good company. From Joaquin Phoenix to Travis Barker, a whole host of famous names have made the lasting decision to ditch meat for good.
Of the one in three who said they already have, or would consider, adopting Veganuary, more than a quarter did (or intend to) in order to make their diet more exciting. Other reasons for doing so include improving their health (46 per cent), doing their bit for the planet (44 per cent), and trying new foods (43 per cent). Pass the vegan Camembert.
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