|INTEREST OVER TIME - 1/1/04 to 9/10/17 - 5 Topics: Gluten Free, Paleolithic Diet, Organic Food, Celiac Disease, Veganism|
I am diving into the world of Google Analytics for a Marketing class at the University of Southern Maine. For anyone who stumbles across this post, I hope it is a useful comparison of the popularity of various allergen-related search terms over a period.
For the purposes of this essay I am analyzing three different special diets and comparing them to organic food and celiac disease. Specifically, I used the following topics and disorders for the google analytics comparison (the colors correlate to those on the graph and map):
Topic: Paleolithic Diet
Topic: Organic Food
Disorder: Celiac Disease
Given the close relationship between a diagnosis of celiac disease and adopting a gluten-free diet, I expected to see a correlation of interest. Similarly, I expected organic food to increase in interest at the same time various diets (often associated with organic food) increased in interest. I included veganism and the paleolithic diet due to the ways they are often associated with the gluten-free diet. The paleolithic diet is a relatively new fad, often adopted by people already committed to a gluten-free diet. Veganism was popular before the gluten-free diet was generally acknowledged, and is similarly often adopted by or confused with the gluten-free diet.
I reviewed interest over time in three different intervals – from Jan 1, 2004 to the present, for the past 12 months, and for the past 30 days. My findings were as follows:
January 1, 2004 to September, 2017 – 13 year overview
Organic food started off as the most popular topic, and has held steady at an average of 23. Celiac disease started off as the third most popular topic, and has held steady at an average of 13 from 2004 to the present. By contrast, the three search terms related to special diets – gluten free, paleolithic, and veganism, all started increasing in popularity around the same time – 2011 to 2012. While the interest in veganism continues to grow, the gluten free diet and paleolithic diet both peaked around 2014, and have decreased slightly in popularity since then. The paleolithic diet shows the most frequent and intense variations in interest, and appears to be decreasing in interest sooner than any of the other search terms. Organic food and Celiac Disease have not varied as intensely in interest, and there does not appear to be a strong correlation in an interest in diagnosis/general healthy eating and special diets.
September 2016 to September 2017 – 12 month overview
Veganism is now of the most interest. Veganism, Paleolithic Diet, and Gluten Free Diet peaked around the holiday period – December/January. Gluten free and veganism went up again in April. Celiac Disease and Organic foods held steady with little variation. There appears to be a correlation between the holidays and research into dietary needs.
August 10, 2016 to September 10, 2016 – 30 day overview
Veganism, Paleolithic Diet, and Gluten Free Diet receive more interest on weekends. Organic food and celiac disease receive little variation.
There is no direct correlation between interest in celiac disease/organic foods and the diets that I researched. Instead, interest correlates with other concerns. In the short term, people are more interested in special diets on the weekends, most likely because they have more time away from work to prepare food for themselves and others. Over the course of a year, people are more likely to show an interest in food diets around the holidays when they are preparing food for family, giving gifts, or trying to lose weight. Some variation on “recipe” searches were among the most related queries for each dietary topic. I’m not sure how to account for the increase in interest in all three diets starting around 2011/2012, but there is a general trend towards healthier eating that has been evident for the past 20 years (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/a-seismic-shift-in-how-people-eat.html?mcubz=0). The popularity of the paleolithic diet already appears to be dropping, most likely since it is more of a “fad” diet than the gluten-free diet which is based in medical needs (i.e. celiac disease). The vegan diet is still exponentially increasing in popularity, most likely since it serves many different concerns – religion, ethics, health, sustainability, etc.