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View Full Version : Vegetarian vs vegan: the trend changed in 2011



Korn
Jun 8th, 2012, 09:08 AM
If you visit Google trends, you can add multiple search terms and get a display showing how much interest each of these terms has seen on Google - either for the whole world or for some regions, and you can specify either all years or a limited period.

http://www.google.com/trends/?q=vegetarian,+vegan

As you can see from the table above (click on the link), until 2011, there was always more interest in "vegetarian" than in "vegan" - until 2011, when the curves starting to overlap each other. And for 2012, the results in the main section ("Search Volume Index") look very good. I'm not expert on using Google Trends, and haven't checked what the difference between Search Volume Index and News Reference Volume means, but the development generally looks good.

Here's an article from last year which covers the same topic:

Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20110105/us-fea-food-going-vegan/)

CoolCat
Jun 8th, 2012, 11:58 AM
Sadly it probably has more to do with increased interest in the vegan diet, not veganism itself. People that breed and race pigeons like Tyson are called vegan, so is Clinton who occasionally eats/ate fish and only does the diet part for his own benefits. That vegan becomes more popular than vegetarian has no meaning if it becomes meaningless in the process like vegetarian did. People that speak up for veganism being called "vegan police" right away doesn't really help to prevent its meaning from being diluted either.

Korn
Jun 8th, 2012, 12:10 PM
Sadly it probably has more to do with increased interest in the vegan diet, not veganism itself.

That vegan becomes more popular than vegetarian has no meaning if it becomes meaningless in the process like vegetarian did.
If animals could talk, I'm sure they'd tell us that they were very happy to learn that more people are eating a vegan or a near-vegan diet. Not being killed to please other living beings' habits and tastebuds probably means everything to them - just like it would mean everything to a human, so the words 'sadly' and 'no meaning' doesn't match my experience of something I see as really good news.

CoolCat
Jun 8th, 2012, 12:39 PM
It would depend on what animal you talk to I guess. Those being used for entertainment or for their skins or other secretions like silk probably don't care what we eat. Reduction of animals that suffer in food production is progress, but if the meaning of being vegan is lost then that comes at a high cost as we will be further away from a world without exploitation.

Lentils
Jun 8th, 2012, 01:42 PM
I've been checking out /r/vegan on reddit recently and really it seems like the term 'vegan' has been hijacked, the odd post there about any kind of animal rights issue mostly gets ignored and the majority of people there are 'vegan for health', just like pretty much every single 'celebrity' that announces to the world that they are 'vegan'.

While more people adopting a plant based diet is good, both directly (less animals suffer) and indirectly (makes people less scared of adopting a vegan lifestyle and makes more animal-free products available, etc) I do share a bit of the same concern that CoolCat has - what if the term 'vegan' on products ends up changing even? Since the majority of 'vegans' may not care if animals are used in the production of something, just that they don't eat any of them.

harpy
Jun 8th, 2012, 01:49 PM
I reckon if that happens, Lentils, we'll just have to think of a new word instead of "vegan". I'm sure I've read or heard that the people who thought up the word "vegan" felt that the word "vegetarian" had been hijacked by people who weren't really vegetarian (i.e. they thought "vegetarian" ought to mean what we mean by "vegan") - anyone else heard that?

I tend to agree with Korn that any reduction in the use of animal products, for whatever reason, is to be welcomed - particularly as we know that (as discussed in other threads) some people who start eating a vegan diet for health reasons then start to reflect more on animal exploitation and decide to become vegan in the true sense.

CoolCat
Jun 8th, 2012, 03:10 PM
I reckon if that happens, Lentils, we'll just have to think of a new word instead of "vegan". I'm sure I've read or heard that the people who thought up the word "vegan" felt that the word "vegetarian" had been hijacked by people who weren't really vegetarian (i.e. they thought "vegetarian" ought to mean what we mean by "vegan") - anyone else heard that?

(my bold) "Vegan" is no different than a brand name if you think about it from a marketing perspective. It should be protected and fought for by all who care for it and not dismissed lightheartedly and considered replaceable. Getting a new message out there would mean much delay in ever reaching our goal. That delay would cost many lives.



WANTED - A NAME.

We should all consider carefully what our Group, and our magazine, and ourselves, shall be called. 'Non-dairy' has become established as a generally understood colloquialism, but like 'non-lacto' it is too negative. Moreover it does not imply that we are opposed to the use of eggs as food. We need a name that suggests what we do eat, and if possible one that conveys the idea that even with all animal foods taboo, Nature still offers us a bewildering assortment from which to choose. 'Vegetarian' and 'Fruitarian' are already associated with societies that allow the 'fruits'(!) of cows and fowls, therefore it seems we must make a new and appropriate word. As this first issue of our periodical had to be named, I have used the title "The Vegan News". Should we adopt this, our diet will soon become known as a VEGAN diet, and we should aspire to the rank of VEGANS. Members' suggestions will be welcomed. The virtue of having a short title is best known to those of us who, as secretaries of vegetarian societies have to type or write the word vegetarian thousands of times a year!

Donald Watson in "The Vegan News" N 1 from November 1944.


The newsletter states they had 25 members at that time. We've come a long way since 1944 and I'm not willing to throw that all away because some people feel butt hurt when you tell them their actions and/or behavior don't rhyme with what being vegan is about. Police away and protect the meaning of "vegan" I would say. If someone is only doing a vegan diet and call themselves vegan tell them the error in their ways.

It's not so much industrial produced products being mislabeled that I fear but clueless restaurants or other small scale producers jumping on the hype bandwagon. If you state that you are vegetarian in a restaurant you will be served fish in most places and will have a hard time explaining and making them understand that a fish dish isn't vegetarian. We need to watch out for these cases and speak up when we see erroneous interpretations.

I had a health food shop in my area use the Vegan Society trademark on their shelf labels. Not only were they repeating the logo for registered products they were also using it to label products they thought are vegan. Not only is this copyright or other intellectual rights infringement but they were doing a poor job at identifying vegan products. I got them to stop using the logo and I continue to point out any mislabeled products in their current labeling system. People speak up. It matters. Getting a new "brand-name" out there is not an option. It would only complicate things.

harpy
Jun 8th, 2012, 03:25 PM
I certainly agree with pointing out the correct use of the word, and objecting to mislabelling.

I don't think introducing another term would mean "throwing all that away", though, any more than the founders of the Vegan Society threw away the work of their predecessors, or their own before that point. We could find an even shorter title. I like V :p

splodge
Jun 8th, 2012, 06:03 PM
"Vegan" is perfectly adequate and well defined already, it was a word invented specifically for us. We can't help it if people are people are using misusing it to suit themselves.

It's a shame people are hijacking a word they don't understand, but to focus on the positive, it's really good that more people are taking any kind of interest in it at all. Only a few years ago, veganism was considered utterly extreme by most people, including vegetarians. This shows that the general idea is becoming more mainstream, just like vegetarian did a while ago.

It also shows that more people who are thinking in general terms of a more plant based diet, are looking to veganism first as an option, rather than seeing vegetarianism as good, and veganism as something really rare that only weirdos and skinny people do.

Or, maybe it just means that there are actually more vegans now, and they're googling things to do with the lifestyle.

made of sequins
Jun 9th, 2012, 04:27 PM
adopting a vegan diet for health can definitely be a 'gateway' to actually going vegan and starting to think about things like exploitation, the environmental consequences, etc. just my personal experience. :)