Just a few weeks before the start of Veganuary, a new survey commissioned by Nurishh, a plant-based alternative to cheese, has revealed the fears and lack of confidence of many UK customers when considering switching to a plant-based diet.

The study, which involved 2,000 adults, shows that, of those wanting to make a change, 53% think it’s a healthier way of eating and 43% don’t think they need meat, but 63% admit this change is something they try at the start of every year, and 46% confess to being likely to pretend to still be a plant-based eater even if they’ve failed at it. One third want to switch to a vegan diet next year, but 38% think they’ll fail within the first two weeks of January.

It seems that a lack of faith in their abilities in succeeding may be sabotaging many people’s attempts to become vegan. More than a third of the people surveyed admit to giving in to temptation too easily, either because of lack of willpower (72%), getting bored too quickly (47%) or having the fear of missing out (43%). And 32% said it have taken them just a week to fail at the first hurdle, while 21% can manage one whole month before giving up.

Deborah Blaser from Nurishh said: “These survey results reveal a growing trend in our society. The premise behind our range is to cater for the one in three that want to go plant-based but don’t want to compromise on flavour. Plant-based category sales have doubled in the last five years, yet products that stack up in taste and support flexitarian-curious Brits planning to make the switch are in small numbers.”

In a different study commissioned by Nestlé Professional, researchers found that 22% of UK consumers planned to eat more plant-based meat in early 2022, and 19% planned to eat more plant-based dairy. All these polls show that there is a big difference between what people say and what people do. People may have genuine intentions to reduce their “blood footprint”, but they lack the conviction they can do it. As flexitarianism is growing, anyone failing to become vegan can then brand themselves as flexitarians, rather than trying harder. This highlights the problem of advocating for a plant-based diet without promoting the philosophy of veganism — which, unfortunately, many vegan organisations do. Without the philosophical foundations to support the change of behaviour, people will not last long in their vegan journey or will start with a negative feeling of likely failure, which will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.     

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.