Gluten-free dieting appears well on the way to becoming a sustainable trend while other popular diets seem to be losing ground, according to data from Hitwise.
Gluten-free dieting demonstrates “all the hallmarks of a ‘steady riser’ diet,” based on data gathered from a panel of 8.5 million people, tracking their on-line behavior across 20 million web sites and 500 million search terms. While experiencing a scattering of “blips” she said searches for “gluten-free” climbed steadily during the analysis period, rising 141% between 2014 and 2016.
(1 of 7)
Low sugar diet searches showed growth during the 2014-16 period, but the gains were concentrated during a period in early 2016, said Rochelle Bailis, director of content and insights, Hitwise. “Since then interest has essentially flat-lined,” she said.
(2 of 7)
Even more dramatic was growth in interest in “low-carb” dieting in early 2016, Ms. Bailis said. That surge was followed by a slow, steady decline over the balance of the year. “That being said, since 2014 low-carb searches have still increased by a sizeable 223%,” she said.
(3 of 7)
Similar to the arc of “low-carb” dieting has been the pattern for “paleo” searches. After a “meteoric” jump in 2016, interest has dissipated, Ms. Bailis said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that the paleo diet trend is dead but serves as a reminder that fast-rising food fads carry the risk of falling out of favor quickly,” she said.
(4 of 7)
“Vegan” searches have been steadily climbing since 2014, and at the end of October jumped suddenly into the league of ‘rising stars’ by doubling in volume,” Ms. Bailis said. “This abrupt interest in veganism is quite startling, considering veganism has existed for decades.”
(5 of 7)
Searches for “vegetarian” experienced similar growth and “entrance into the league of rising stars” late in 2016, Ms. Bailis said. Growth has been steady for some time but more than doubled in recent months, she said. “This sudden renewed interest in vegetarianism and veganism, along with the persistent demand for organic foods, suggests consumers are more invested in sustainable food movements that improve their own health while protecting the planet and other organisms.
(6 of 7)
In the month of December alone, Ms. Bailis estimated searches of the various topics totaled 2.3 million. She said the figures were estimated against a total online U.S. population of 198 million. Vegan had the largest number of searches, at 476,905, lagged only slightly by gluten free, at 474,887.
(7 of 7)