Jul 7, 2017

Diet trends of India

One of my favourite hobbies is to analyze search trends of popular topics using Google Trends. Since we rely on Google so much for our informational needs, the search trends give a good indication of various issues pertaining to lifestyle, health, nutrition, shopping etc. 

Given that food and nutrition is my passion, I looked at the search trends pertaining to the following diet patterns in India over the last 2 years (Jul 2015 - Jul 2017):
1. Millets (not really a diet per se)
2. Keto diet
3. Paleo diet
4. Vegan diet
5. Gluten free diet
Source: Google Trends

Overall, as you can see, interest towards Keto diet is the highest, followed by Paleo and millets. Surprisingly, vegan and gluten free diet aren't as popular as compared to the other diets.
Other observations:
1. Interest towards millets started increasing sometime in the middle of 2016. Karnataka, Telengana and Tamilnadu are the top 3 states where people seem to be really interested in millets. 
2. Keto diet started to spike up in the beginning of 2017. Maharashtra, Haryana, Telengana and Karnataka are the top states triggering the most number of searches related to Keto diet 
3. Paleo diet picked up steam around a year back (Jul 2016). The surprising insight for me was that maximum searches are coming from Tamilnadu and Pondicherry, with Karnataka being a distant third. I wonder what events led to this sudden rise in interest towards Paleo diet in TN
4. I was under the impression that more and more people are turning vegan (One of my life goals too). But the search trends show that the search volumes are low, steady and haven’t risen in the past 2 years. Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka are the top 3 states interested in vegan way of diet
5. Search trends pertaining to gluten free diet aren’t as high as I expected it to be. The volumes have been low and steady in the past 2 years. But the shocking insight for me was that the maximum number of searches on gluten-free diet are coming from Haryana and Punjab - yes, the two states where wheat production and consumption is more as compared to the Southern states

The one chart that I wish to rewrite is the following:

It is not just the overall trend that irks me but the even distribution of quinoa related searches across the country. In the case of millets, except for the Southern States, there's hardly been any interest in the other regions of the country. 
If Punjab and Haryana wants to go gluten-free, then millets are the ideal alternative, not quinoa. I had earlier written about "Why Indians don't need quinoa?". If you haven't read it, please check it out.

P.S. This analysis is a reflection of the search habits of Internet users in India (Internet penetration around 30%) and doesn't cover the entire population.

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