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Are plant-based and non-meat diets on the rise in your state?

If your browser tabs currently consist of the Minimalist Baker’s Instagram page, the Vegetarian Times’ recipe section and the latest viral post on why you should consider going vegan, you’re in good company. With the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet receiving more publicity than ever before, online interest in vegetarianism and veganism seems to be at an all-time high.

To get a flavor of just how curious people across the US are about plant-based lifestyles, we used Google Trends to find out how frequently people in each state are searching for the terms 'vegan' and ‘vegetarian’, and how much this has increased or decreased over the last five years.

Key takeaways

Veganism is a hotter topic

You might not be surprised by the fact that veganism has seen more of a bump in Google searches than vegetarianism since 2014. A study by Tulane University and the University of Michigan published in Environmental Research Letters in 2018 found that meat, dairy and egg consumption is to blame for a huge 84 percent of food-related greenhouse gases in the US, suggesting that going vegan may be the single best thing we can do for the environment.

With elite pro athletes such as Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan, LA Lakers’ JaVale McGee and Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris dispelling the myth that a plant-based diet turns you into a weak, energy-zapped shadow of your former self, people seem to be getting the message that veganism can actually be good for your health and wellbeing too.

With elite pro athletes such as Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan, LA Lakers’ JaVale McGee and Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris dispelling the myth that a plant-based diet turns you into a weak, energy-zapped shadow of your former self, people seem to be getting the message that veganism can actually be good for your health and wellbeing too.

At the other end of the scale, New Mexico saw an increase of only 48 percent, while New Hampshire was even lower at 21 percent. Bucking the upward trend completely, North Dakota recorded a 29 percent drop in Google searches for the term ‘vegan’.

Searches for ‘vegetarian’ still on the rise

OK, so they might be lagging slightly behind the rises in vegan searches, but Google searches for ‘vegetarian’ are still up in most US states.

The state with the biggest increase in searches was the traditionally pepperoni-roll-loving West Virginia at 200 percent. This was followed by the birthplace of the New Mexico chile, with New Mexico rising 160 percent. Their state neighbor, Kansas, where customary dishes include hickory-smoked ribs and meatloaf, saw a 140 percent rise.

A number of states did see drops though, with the most noticeable decreases in Iowa (-31 percent), Rhode Island (-41 percent) and Montana (-43 percent).

To discover the trends in your state and find out what’s happening across the country, check out our maps.