Veganism is continuing to grow in popularity, with a lot of people turning to search engines and social media to find out more about going vegan, eating vegan and living vegan. Using Goole Trends I've taken a look at what people are searching for and what pages they actually visit.
Vegan Searches in a Year
Over the past five years veganism has peaked in popularity every January, with the most searches being in January of 2019, this isn't an accident or coincidence. Veganuary, first started in 2014 by Jane Land and Matthew Glover, is an annual challenge where people go vegan for the month of January. Veganuary is also the name of the non-profit organisation that started the vegan challenge that promotes and educates about veganism. They encourage people to follow a vegan lifestyle, not just for January but hopefully as a lifestyle. In 2020, 400,000 people signed up to the campaign and it is estimated that this represented the carbon dioxide equivalent of 450,000 flights and the lives of more than a million animals.
As more people are choosing to eat less meat, eggs and dairy, many of the popular searches that relate to veganism are more specific, with people looking for guidance on a particular topic and not veganism as a whole. One of these searches is "seitan". People want to know how to make seitan, how to cook seitan and find out more about restaurants that serve seitan as a dish, such as searching for Wagamama. Interestingly, most searches happen around the time of lent, when many Christians abstain from eating meat before Easter. A popular seitan search in the USA is "is vital wheat gluten keto"? Vital wheat gluten is the protein extracted from wheat that is used to make seitan and, yes, it is keto friendly as the carbohydrates are removed.
Searches for vegan products, such a particular brand of vegan sausages, or companies that sell vegan food, restaurants, online supermarkets and shops, do not follow the same trends as more basic vegan searches. They remain pretty steady with people looking up recipes and ideas for places to eat while they're out and about.
The top10 vegan related searches are:
Vegan Near Me
As you can see, things start well then become less healthy, with the ubiquitous question about protein only making it to number 9.
Vegan Searches Around The World
The vast majority of searches relating to veganism are taking place in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, western countries. It appears that, in many areas of the world, veganism is a choice of the rich, a choice for those that have the option to eat exactly what they want. In many countries around the world many people have to eat what is available to them. They cannot go to the supermarket and buy Tempeh from China, they do not have canned and dried beans imported from around the world. Eating a wholly vegan diet simply is not possible for them as they rely on fish and dairy for protein and calories. Then there are the countries that eat a vegan diet because plants and vegetables are all they have. They don't need to do a search on how to be vegan, they can't be anything but vegan.
This doesn't mean the being vegan is expensive, this is more of an indication that people are used to being able to eat rich, expensive, diets of meat, eggs, fish and other animal products, without having to give it a second thought. When converting to a healthier and more sustainable diet these people need some help and guidance, with many people finding that eating vegan, when avoiding process foods, saves a lot of money. Hopefully, they are also finding that they feel healthier and grow in compassion for the planet and everything that lives on it.