New Year’s Day marked the start of Veganuary, a social campaign which encourages individuals to try and stick to a vegan diet for an entire month. The Campaign has been running for five years, and this year it had a record 250,000 sign-ups.
Veganism is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and around the world, especially as concerns over environmental impact and climate change grow. There has rarely been a week gone by without veganism being in the headlines.
The vegan lifestyle is becoming easier to adapt to as major supermarkets expand their range of vegan friendly items. According to The Vegan society, demand for meat-free options have risen by 987 percent.
Charlotte Grist took on the challenge of Veganuary in 2018. She commented: ‘I know that the dairy industry is harmful which is one of the main reasons why I’m vegetarian, but over Christmas I had eaten a lot of dairy so I kind of did it for health purposes. But also to prove to myself I could do it if I decided to make a permanent shift’.
While Grist chose not to continue to be vegan afterwards many people do, and Norwich is quickly becoming one of the most accessible places to do it. It is fast becoming a vegan hotspot with a variety of different restaurants, market stalls and cafes to choose from.
Ceiran Trigg, the owner of Ancestors Coffee on Magdalene Street, shared his reasons for starting a vegan cafe in Norwich.
‘We saw a missing market in Norwich. All vegan foods are currently junk foods. We wanted to create something on the healthier side of things. We want to normalise veganism instead of imitating foods that are not, and we wanted to create something that was on the healthier side.’
Emma Hyde and Tanne Heathershaw, both students at the University of East Anglia, split their time between Norwich and their hometowns of Oxford and Suffolk. Hyde expressed that in Oxford ‘there are a few places but they’re on opposite ends of the city, and there’s not nearly as much choice as in Norwich.’
Heathershaw echoes Hyde’s thinking. ‘Being vegan here is a lot easier than at home, I am much more in charge of my food, buying and cooking, and most of the people I live with have a similar diet anyway. Also, Norwich is good for vegan options; there is so much choice here whereas there is none at home.’
Veganism is becoming more than just a trend followed by millennials. Veganuary is a great starting point for those who have always wanted to be vegan but scared by the commitment, and Norwich is definitely one of the best places to take on the challenge.