“Vegan Food Near Me”: Breakthrough Google Search Spikes 5,000 Percent in 2021

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Google has revealed that searches for “vegan food near me” have dramatically increased in 2021. The term reached “breakthrough status”, meaning it increased by 5,000 percent or more. The finding was released as part of the annual “Year in Search” report, published by the search engine.

Other pertinent figures contained in the report show that vegan-adjacent curiosity is on the rise. “How does eating less meat help climate change” was a breakout search in the U.K., while global queries about “how to conserve” shot up. Climate change concerns had clearly grown, with “how to help our planet” being a breakout term. The word “vegan” was searched for in connection to specific food types. Pasta, pancakes and soup were some of the most popular.

A world trying to heal

In an emotive video story, Google revealed that healing was a primary concern, globally. “How to heal” was highly searched in multiple countries. Alongside this term, “how to stay strong” and “how to honour someone” featured regularly. The terms are indicative of the worldwide struggle resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. As an offshoot of personal and planetary health concerns, searches related to mental health reached record numbers. Affirmation sourcing was markedly up from 2020.

A steady rise

Plant-based living has been a growing search category year-on-year. Google’s Year in Search is not the only report to highlight the vegan trend. In 2020, Chef’s Pencil revealed that global searches related to veganism were at their highest to date.

It’s not merely food and recipes that are being queried, however. In line with embracing vegan products as a lifestyle, not simply a diet, broader Google search terms proved popular. Vegan-friendly fashion accessories, shoes and cosmetics all featured prominently in the 2020 Year in Search findings.

One of the most compelling vegan Google search revelations is that in January 2020, in the U.K.,  “Veganuary” and “dry January” were in line with each other for the first time. It shows that the Veganuary initiative is gradually being seen as a healthy way to start a new year. It offers an alternative to existing challenges that force a lifestyle rest, such as dry January.

The 2021 report shows a clear connection between global environmental concerns and veganism. Queries surrounding “sustainability” have become a marker for the growing awareness of animal agriculture’s effect on climate change. Questions about “impact” have seen a spike, highlighting a consumer ‘joining of dots’. This comes as Spain’s consumer affairs minister doubles down on his determination to reduce meat consumption in the country. His efforts are motivated by a desire to curb the climate crisis. 

The hunt for vegan food

With lockdowns in place in 2021 it is assumed that searches for  “vegan food near me” brought in variable results. With restaurants closed, vegan-friendly supermarkets and delivery services no doubt benefitted. Both Instacart and Grubhub confirmed spikes in vegan orders.

Searches for vegan food conducted this January will prove more diverse. After a record-breaking Veganuary sign-up in 2021, the figures in 2022 are expected to be even higher. This has meant a surge in new products being released by known brands. Vegan-curious consumers will have easier access to plant-based foods than ever before, especially in the U.K. Supermarkets are converting entire aisles to meat-free shopping.

Notable product releases this year include vegan Babybel mini cheese wheels from the Bel Group. Lindt has pulled the trigger on two oat milk chocolate bars. In the foodservice arena, Caffé Nero and THIS have come together, following the success of their collaborative Christmas sandwich, to unveil two new sandwiches. 


All images courtesy of Unsplash.

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