This is the first month of our year living social trends and we’re going vegan for January. By ‘we’ – specifically Alex and Olivia. We have very different lifestyles, and typical food intake. Alex is already veggie (with occasional bits of fish), whilst Olivia is a committed meat eater.
But, why vegan?
Well, it’s seeing explosive growth in social interest. This is 2017’s dominant food-trend. Search volumes have increased fivefold since 2011, and the intent-based interest seen in search saw veganism exceed vegetarianism in mid-2015.
What’s especially interesting is this level of interest, compared to those more passively engaged. Facebook estimate 8.5m are interested in vegetarianism, compared to 6.5m in veganism, in the UK, for example.
The scale of the interest is also notable: over 50k Instagram images tagged every month in the UK, for example, and over 120k social conversations. Veganism sees five times the discussion of Atkins or 5/2 diet, for example, and 20% more than gluten-free.
Based on the nature of the conversation, the majority is about a vegan diet – i.e. the food itself. Relatively small volumes (<50%) are about the principles and values which sit behind an ethical decision to be vegan. Which doesn’t signify these values are not part of people’s decision – but they don’t form the basis for the majority of conversation.
Those socially engaged around veganism are typically educated, female, and most often 25-34. Conversations often overlap with paleo diets and gluten-free. Alpro is the only mainstream brand to feature heavily. Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) also gets a look-in.