The veggie trend is here to stay

We live in a society where health, animal welfare and sustainability are becoming increasingly important, and what was once seen as a fad is now a lifestyle for many. We’re talking about vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians. The world is changing, society is changing and we have to adapt to these new realities. You know the saying, adapt or die!

A bit of context: veganism and vegetarianism are trends that promote a diet (and life) free from meat and products derived from or tested on animals. While vegans eliminate all animal products from their lives – food (meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.) and hygiene and beauty products – vegetarians only eliminate meat and fish from their diets.

And flexitarians, those vegetarians who occasionally eat animal protein, where do they come from? Apparently, it all started in the early 1990s, when Helga Morath opened a small restaurant in Austin (TX) called the Acorn Café. Helga didn’t really invent anything new, but she did give a name to a diet that many were already following: flexitarianism. Later, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper published an article about Helga and her restaurant, noting that it served flexitarian food, becoming the first written reference to the term.

Going veggie (an umbrella term for all three diets) is a process in which the body’s needs must also be taken into account, as a balanced diet must include all the macronutrients: protein (in this case, vegetable protein), carbohydrates and healthy fats. In this way, the veggie diet can be suitable for children, pregnant women and athletes. In addition, studies have claimed that up to 5.5 million lives could be saved around the world if there was a proper transition to a veggie diet; it is rich in antioxidants and free from saturated and trans fats, which have become the leading causes of premature death.

This is probably the reason why more and more people have taken up these lifestyles in recent years. You only need to look at the stats: in 2019, 9.9% of Spanish adults were veggie, 64% represented by women. And, nowadays, it is one of the most searched for and followed lifestyles on social media. Their power is so great that they have become one of the main focuses of the gastronomic world and other economic sectors.

As expected, many chains and restaurants are starting to include vegetarian/vegan dishes on their menus, and they are proving to be very popular with customers. The fact that it’s a veggie meal doesn’t mean it can’t be eaten be everyone, in fact, many people who are not vegan or vegetarian have introduced this type of dish into their diets.

As we see the supply of these products increasing, we also see increased curiosity about these diets on the internet and social media. So much so that the results of the Google Trends platform, where a value of 100 indicates the maximum popularity of a term, clearly show the evolution of this concept on the internet. Among Google searches five years ago, the word “vegan” scored 40 out of 100 at national level, whereas in the last 12 months, it has reached an average of 70, and has even exceeded 95 on several occasions. This growth is also seen with other related terms, such as “veganism”, “vegetarian” and “veggie”.

Graph: Google Trends. Search term “vegan”, worldwide (last 5 years).

As we said at the beginning of the post, the world changes, society changes and we have to adapt to these new realities. Just as we adapted to allergens, ¡let’s now adapt to the veggie world!

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