Is California Losing its Vegan Crown? New York, Oregon, and Hawaii Say Yes!

Despite being often recognized as the vanguard of the vegan movement, California surprisingly ranks fourth in a recent study that scrutinizes states’ interest in veganism.

According to research by the vegan enthusiasts at Easy Vegan Recipes, three other states outpaced California in their curiosity about all things vegan.

The Unanticipated Leaders of Vegan Searches

The study scrutinized the search volume data for vegan-related phrases in each US state per 100,000 residents over the past 12 months.

The terms investigated were ‘vegan,’ ‘vegan restaurant,’ ‘vegan substitutes,’ ‘vegan recipes,’ and ‘vegan desserts.’ Although California is frequently considered a hotspot for vegan culture, the data revealed unexpected frontrunners.

New York Outshines the Rest

Much to the surprise of many, New York claimed the top spot as the state most passionate about veganism, boasting 594.64 vegan-related searches per 100k population. The term ‘vegan’ emerged as the most popular search among New Yorkers, with an estimated 82,250 online searches per month.

Oregon and Hawaii Exceed Expectations

Following closely behind New York, Oregon seized second place with 593.89 vegan-related searches per 100k residents. Hawaii, another unexpected leader, ranked third with 549.98 searches per 100k population, surpassing California in their quest for vegan knowledge and resources.

California Falls Short in Fourth Place

While the Golden State is typically recognized as a pioneer in plant-based lifestyles, California landed in fourth place with 414.13 searches per 100k population.

Despite leading the searches in almost all vegan-related terms included in the study, Californians found themselves trailing behind New York, Oregon, and Hawaii in their overall interest in veganism.

Nonetheless, Californians’ enthusiasm for veganism cannot be downplayed. The state registered a staggering average of 48,750 online searches per month for ‘vegan restaurants’ and an impressive 100,250 searches for ‘vegan.’

Not to mention, California proudly hosts a total of 7,902 vegan restaurants, the city of Los Angeles housing the largest number of them.

Why the 4th Place Finish?

This study is limited in that it only looked at search data. It’s possible that Californians are so knowledgable about veganism already that they don’t need to do a lot of searching/research to find their favorite vegan place or vegan recipe!

The study may also reflect that California is a large state. Because the study looked at searches per capita, California’s large population may have hurt its rankings, especially if large pockets of people in the state aren’t interested in veganism at all.

Time to Raise the Vegan Bar, California

Either way, this surprising revelation shows that while California remains a major player in the vegan arena, other states are catching up and even surpassing in their engagement with the vegan lifestyle.

It’s a friendly challenge for California to rekindle its vegan spirit and continue leading the way in the plant-based revolution. After all, the real winners in this race are our health, the animals, and the environment.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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