Google Trends data shows an undeniable rise in the popularity of veganism ins South Africa. Pic: Fred R Conrad/ New York Times
The popularity of veganism has exploded world-wide and 2019 has been officially declared the Year of the Vegan by the Economist.

So what about Africa? Has the popularity of the vegan movement reached the African continent? Chef’s Pencil turned again to Google Trends data to explore the veganism movement on the second largest continent.

According to Google Trends data, South Africa is among the top 30 countries world-wide where veganism was most popular over the past 12 months. To be more precise, South Africa ranks in 23rd place. It is the only African country with a sizable vegan following.

Looking closer at South Africa, Google Trends data shows an undeniable rise in the popularity of veganism, peaking earlier this year. The country moved up the global ranks from a global veganism popularity score of 14 in 2014 to 27 in 2018.

They analyzed searches in the Veganism category, which comprises vegan-related searches made in any language (e.g. “veganism”, “vegan restaurants”, “vegan recipes”). 
Google assigns a score for each location (broken down by country and city) that represents the level of interest in a given topic by comparing searches made for that topic to all Google searches made in that particular location.

While some of these searches are probably made out of curiosity, many types of searches, such as vegan recipes or vegan restaurants, show a strong intent for following a vegan diet.