Foodies, health nuts, and chefs alike have one thing in common: They love social media. They also love hashtagging. Between all the #foodporn and #mealprep and #carblover hashtags overflowing with photos, the food-obsessed cavern of Instagram has its niche corners — one of the most active of which is the dieting community. Trying the Whole30? There’s a hashtag for that. Going on keto? There’s a huge repertoire of recipes.
Within each pocket of dieters chronicling their food photos, there’s an active community of support and camaraderie. But some diets are undoubtedly trendier than others.
A team of researchers at Brandwatch took to Twitter to uncover which diet flooded feeds with the largest volume of posts. They evaluated the profiles of top “influencers” (social media gurus with especially large followings) to decipher which diet trend was the hottest right now.
The most popular diet in their analysis? A vegan diet. Among the tweets Brandwatch selected from the biggest influencers, veganism consumed more conversation than the next two most discussed diets combined. In second place were mentions of eating gluten-free, followed by vegetarian mentions.
Why veganism blew up on social media this year isn’t clear. Is it because more people are going vegan than are trying other diets — or because the vegan community just really loves to talk about being vegan?
Though this particular study looked solely at Twitter to discover the most popular diet trend, Instagram seems similar. The hashtag #vegan has over 64 million recent posts, with all kinds of related hashtags like #veganbreakfast and #veganrecipes. Influencers who mainly post photos of vegan food have huge numbers of followers.
“I definitely think the conversation about vegan food has grown in 2018,” Zarlengo told The Daily Meal. “I think people are excited that plant-based food is becoming more approachable and attainable, not to mention delicious!”
Zarlengo is not completely vegan, but often posts photos of vegan foods and plant-based recipes.
“Regardless of being completely vegan or not, people are becoming more aware of ways they can incorporate vegan products and recipes into their daily routine,” she said. Instagram, she says, helps to increase public awareness of how to enjoy these foods.
“I think it is really easy to overcomplicate health,” Zarlengo explained. “I love to be that voice showing my audience that [eating well] can be easy and enjoyable.”
It’s true — you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these delicious meatless recipes.