Tracking Diet Trends


Grocerants can get a better grip on which trendy diets are here to stay and which are on the way out by paying attention to internet search and social media statistics, say industry experts.

Rochelle Bailis, director of content and insights for Hitwise—part of Connexity, an e-commerce and consumer analytics company—recently explained the methodology for one such online source to Food Business News.

“Key to distinguishing legitimate food trends from fads is sustained growth year after year based on data [we have] collected from a panel of 8.5 million people, tracking their online behavior across 20 million websites and 500 million search terms,” explains Bailis. According to her firm’s calculations, “organic” food is here to stay and “gluten-free” has climbed steadily, rising 141 percent between 2014 and 2016. Meanwhile, “detox,” “low-sugar” and “low-carb” searches show less steady growth, and after a meteoric jump in 2016, interest in “paleo” has dissipated.

Bailis says she also keeps an eye on vegan searches, which “have been climbing steadily since 2014, and at the end of October jumped suddenly into the league of ‘rising stars’ by doubling in volume.”

“This abrupt interest in veganism is quite startling, considering veganism has existed for decades,” says Bailis. Searches for “vegetarian” saw similar growth, entering into “the league of rising stars” late in 2016, says Bailis, noting that growth had been steady for some time but more than doubled in recent months.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Tracking store sales data about customer interest in diets, ingredients and cuisines
  • Following Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for trending food interests
  • Utilizing outside sources of internet search data on food trends
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