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Interest In Plant Based Diets Reaches Record High In 16 Years

Whether it be the choices we make or the thoughts we think, there’s no doubt that the media we consume plays such a crucial role in influencing our lifestyles. But we were curious – Just how much have our thoughts about food changed since 16 years ago.

In the graph above we used Google Trends, one of googles most powerful keyword research tools to explore the boom of plant based diets in more detail. We compared the search volume for 3 of the most common search terms, “Vegan”, “Plant Based” & “Vegetarian” from the year 2004 to 2020. Important note – The quick drop in search volume that occurs in March 2020 is assumed to be due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The results were astounding. First off the bat, you’ll notice the large gaps between each of the terms. This could represent popularity and is most prominently seen in the surge of the term “Vegan” – Which at its peak almost quadrupled the peak search volume for the term “vegetarian”. Regardless, all of the terms have experienced a significant growth in relevance when looked at individually, especially in comparison to their 2004 counterparts which were barely searched at all. The only exception is the term vegetarian, which has stayed fairly consistent over the years.

Possible Driving Factors

Photo By / Igor Miske

1. What could have caused such an effective result? How can we do more of it? These are prime questions that need to be answered to inspire further change in the food/consumer market. The most plausible driving factor for the boom of plant based interest is the increasing accessibility to technology and information.

More people are signing up to the Veganuary campaign / Veganuary

According to Statista, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. Thus, effective marketing campaigns championed by online authorities such as influencers, brands and news outlets are most likely at the centre.

Photo By / Markus Spiske

2. The rising awareness surrounding climate change, animal rights and CO2 emissions derived from animal agriculture has created highly eco-conscious consumers who prefer organic, ethical and sustainable diets.

3. Health and fitness are astronomically large industries with passionate consumers who are enthusiastic about weight management, health benefits and flavour. Plant based diets offer more nutritional benefits, increase the bodies resilience towards diet related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and are great for weight loss. Thus, it’s a no brainer that consumers who valued these benefits would gravitate towards plant based styles of eating.

What Can We Learn From This?

Is this data an accurate representation of the people who actually uphold these diets? Not necessarily. Google trends only shows interest and as the name suggests – trends. However, throughout the past 16 years, data has shown us that information and it’s ability to create awareness is a prominent factor at the centre of the plant based boom. As technology becomes increasingly integrated within our lifestyles and climate issues become more prominent, we’ll most likely see the continued boom of the plant based movement and industries that relate to it.

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