I realize I wrote a similar post last year, but I thought it might be nice to revisit the topic. The graph above shows the volume of searches on Google for the word “vegan” as a function of time on top, and the number of references in news articles below. You can see an increase in searches in late 2007, with a jump in the number of news stories mentioning vegan in early 2008. Presumably the news stories were following public interest. I have’t been able to correlate this shift to anything, but if someone reading this can please mention it in the comments.
Over the past few years the number of searches have been more or less constant, although there has been a definite increase in the latter half of this year. This year has also seen a lot of press about the obesity epidemic in this country, and so this increase in searches may indicate an increased awareness about veganism and a desire to get healthy. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues into into the holiday months. The US still leads in searches, with Canada next. And what’s the most vegan city in the US? You guessed it, Portland, OR.
Also of interest, at least to me, is who is doing search advertising based on the word vegan. You know, the ads you see to the right when you do a search on Google. The biggest advertisers are exploreveg.org, friendsofanimals.org, tryveg.com, and more along those similar lines. To my surprise, though, in a few test searches I found a Carls Jr. ad telling me to “Veg It.” The ad itself led to a broken link, so it is probably part of an advertising campaign that someone forgot to turn off. Still, I find it interesting that at some point Carls Jr. was trying to lure people interested in veganism into their restaurants.