Already at the beginning of January 2021, a record 500,000 had signed-up for the Veganuary challenge worldwide – and the numbers are still growing. This is a record for the movement, which began in 2014: a full 25% up on the previous year and double the number of January two years ago.
The horrors of 2020, the pandemic, and climate change, seem to have inspired many to re-think their diet and how their food choices impact not only their health but also the environment.
To see how this is playing out across the world, we analyzed Google Trends and Google Adwords’ big data on vegan-related searches in 2020.
Last year, Google Adwords data saw a massive increase in the number of vegan-related searches, up 47% year-on-year.
This makes veganism almost twice as popular as it was just five years ago, and the enthusiasm for Veganuary this year suggests it is not slowing down.
Across the world, a huge variety of vegan-related searches are carried out every day, from recipes to vegan cheese, vegan chocolate, restaurants, vegan pet food and even vegan coca cola.
Many of these searches are pure curiosity, of course, but a high volume indicates a clear intent to eat vegan, for example, searches for vegan recipes or vegan restaurants near me. And interest in veganism doesn’t stop at consumables. Millions of searches are carried out every year for things such as vegan shoes, vegan cosmetics, vegan travel, and vegan laundry detergent.
The data suggests that the experiences of the past year have fueled the popularity of plant-based living as searches for both food and non-food vegan items show strong growth.
We also turned to Google Trends, another Google-owned data analytics tool. The data here allows analysis and comparison of the popularity of various search categories internationally. For example, veganism comprises vegan-related searches made in any language, such as “veganism”, “vegan restaurants near me”, “vegane rezepte”, and “vegan essen”.
Google Trends’ system of popularity scores for various topics allows the benchmarking of veganism popularity across the world.
For example, if Portland, Oregon has a veganism popularity score of 100 and Berlin, Germany has a score of 86, it means that a higher percentage of Portlanders searched for vegan foods and products compared to Berliners. It does not mean that the overall number of searches was higher. Berlin has a population six times larger than Portland, so the overall number of vegan searches would be higher in Berlin.
Canada ranks 9th worldwide among the most popular countries for vegans.
Changes in diet are always led by the people. But the government agency Health Canada actually prioritized plant-based foods over meat, seafood, and dairy in its 2018 Food Guide, giving the vegan trend a serious boost. One survey reports the number of vegans in the country doubled between 2018 and 2020.
While the country itself ranks 9th worldwide, Vancouver, BC ranks 7th most popular city for vegans. Our analysis of Google Adwords data found that vegan-related searches in Canada surged by 28% year on year in 2020, which is a staggering 72% increase in 2017.
Some of the most popular searches in Canada are the following: vegan restaurants (14,800 monthly searches), vegan lasagne (9,900 monthly searches), vegan banana bread (8,100 monthly searches), and vegan cheese (6,600 monthly searches).
It’s not just the vegan food that’s increasingly popular, Canadians are embracing the full vegan lifestyle. The number of searches for “vegan cosmetics”, for example, increased by 14.6% between 2018 and 2019, while “vegan leather” and “vegan fashion” grew by 94% and nearly 40%, respectively, since 2016.
Let’s take a look at the most popular countries and cities for veganism in 2020:
Most popular cities for vegans: