It’s hard to believe how far vegan eating has come in such a short time. Not too long ago, the word vegan was unfamiliar to most people, and it was certainly not something easily pronounced (vay-gun?).
Times are changing indeed, and evidence that vegan eating has reached the mainstream is everywhere. Ten years ago, would you have ever even imagined people like Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, and Michelle Pfeiffer talking about the benefits of choosing vegan foods? And look at the proliferation of dairy- and egg-free specialty companies, not to mention the recent (and hilarious) sketch featuring Justin Timberlake as a dancing block of tofu singing about the ethics and fun of vegan eating on Saturday Night Live.
Popularity of “Vegan” Google Searches, 2008-Present
Color density represents quantity relative to present-day maxiumum
Want something more conclusive? Google’s Trends application (combined with a little nerd power) shows that more and more people are searching for information related to the term “vegan.”
How can we tell? Check out this neat animation of the relative popularity of searches including the term “vegan” in the U.S. over the past five years, and watch with delight as the map darkens, evidencing a shift further and further into the mainstream.
And it’s not just interest in veganism that’s growing—Americans are choosing more and more meat-free meals! The USDA expects a continued decline in meat consumption, with the average american eating 12.2% less meat today than in 2007.
Why? I personally believe it’s the large number of recent undercover investigations into the routine cruelties inflicted upon dairy cows and egg-laying hens which are so vital to consumer awareness. But you’re free to continue telling friends and family that it’s because your super-secret egg- and dairy-free dessert recipes have been leaked.