Following up on veganism popularity reports released in 2020 -2022, the Chefs Pencil team has crunched the numbers again to showcase the cities and countries where veganism is currently most popular around the world.
Our report is based on Google Trends data, a reliable source of big data that shows the relative popularity of a search term in Google.
Google Trends also allows you to geographically benchmark the search popularity score by providing search interest scores for cities, regions, and countries. 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.
Once again, the United Kingdom tops the veganism popularity charts in spite of a drop on veganism popularity scores. According to a poll conducted by YouGov and cited by the Guardian, 36% of Brits approve a vegan diet and many of them have expressed an interest in becoming vegan.
Germany ranks second most popular country for vegans in 2022. By some estimates, Germany is home to more than 2.5 million vegans and is world-renowned for its plant-based and meat substitutes industry.
Germany is also one of the very few countries worldwide where veganism search popularity did not see a steep drop in 2022.
Germany’s southern neighbour Austria has had a very long presence among the world’s most vegan-friendly countries. According to some estimates, 1.2% of the population live a vegan life and you can now even find a vegan schnitzel and strudel.
Another meat-loving country turning vegan, New Zealand, found its ranking unchanged from our prior report. New Zealand’s vegan and vegetarian population is, however, a subject of debate. Some research has put this number at roughly 6% of the population, while according to another survey, it is as high as 10% of the population.
Regardless of the exact number, both surveys highlight a steady increase in the number of New Zealanders that stopped eating meat over the past decade or so.
Is Veganism Popularity Slowing Down?
Veganism popularity appears to be losing steam worldwide, according to the latest Google Trends data. Veganism searches in the first quarter of 2022 showed a marked decline compared to both Q1 2021 and Q1 2020, a trend that had already become visible through most of 2021.
Chef’s Pencil has analyzed the search volumes for the most popular 500 vegan-related keywords performed in the United States over a period of four years. This covers a wide set of vegan-related searches, from vegan recipes to vegan butter and chocolate to searches like vegan food and vegan restaurants.
The results provide a more nuanced picture of veganism popularity in the United States. Overall, vegan-related searches have actually increased over the past couple of years in the United States. But the surge is driven almost exclusively by vegans looking to eat out: searches for vegan restaurants and vegan food near me skyrocketed in the summer of 2021, and the first quarter of 2022 also looks particularly strong.
In the United Kingdom and Australia, the number of absolute searches for vegan-related terms (source: Google Adwords) are substantially down compared to 2020. The charts below show the number of vegan-related searches for the past four years for the top 200 most popular vegan-related keywords.
And again in 2023 veganism as a search term in Google Trends in only Australia continues its popularity decline.
Are People Opting for Flexitarianism Instead of Veganism?
All in all, while veganism popularity does not seem to have tanked, its rise appears to have slowed down considerably. Data from Google and other industry reports show a continued interest in veganism and vegan products, but the exuberant growth of the veganism movement has faded into an incremental one.
While veganism growth is at least temporarily slowing down, some say Flexitarianism is the new niche movement going mainstream. “As Flexitarianism becomes more mainstream, with 40% of European meat eaters planning to eat less meat, it’s no longer only vegans and vegetarians who are recognizing that every meal is an opportunity to eat more sustainably “, says Carlotte Lucas, corporate engagement manager at the Good Food Institute Europe.
Adjusted for Australian readers and updated from an article that first appeared at >>> Veganism Popularity Growth Takes a Plunge; UK, Germany Top the Popularity Table – Chef’s Pencil (chefspencil.com)