With influential figures like former President Bill Clinton announcing his enthusiasm for a vegan diet, and celebs like Justin Timberlake singing “Bring it on down to Veganville,” it would seem that veganism is entering the mainstream.
Need more proof? According to Google Trends, public interest in a vegan diet is higher than ever before.
The neat little graphic below shows the increase in people searching for the term “vegan” on Google. The number 100 denotes the highest interest ever reached, which for this term was hit in March of this year. Not only that, but a 2012 study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group and undertaken by Harris Interactive found that the 2.5 percent of the country identified themselves as “vegan,” up from 1 percent in 2009. That may not seem like a drastic leap, but it is when you consider that the number of vegans has more than doubled in just three years.
Last year, Mark Bittman of The New York Times reported that American demand for meat was steadily decreasing, with the Department Of Agriculture projecting a further drop.
More recently, after a horse meat scandal overseas sparked public outrage, the sales of meat-free products climbed.
The increased interest could be due to the explosion of vegan celebrities in recent years. It could, however, be a more meaningful trend. Studies have recently come out linking veganism to a variety of beneficial health effects: everything from better heart health to improved diabetes to lower rates of obesity. Reducing meat consumption is also beneficial for the environment.