Between March 2016 and July 2017, the number of people searching "plant-based" products tripled online, according to data collected by 101Data and reported by VegNews. Researchers believe there was a correlation in search terms with the release of Netflix's What the Health, a movie about the effects of eating meat on our planet and bodies. There was an extra spike in March around the film's release.
There are some who contest the accuracy of the health benefits pushed by the film, with Vox in particular writing a take down about how producers cherry-picked studies to support their claims. However, it's undeniable that eating less meat and more sustainably grown vegetables has an impact on the environment to the benefit of all, and people are taking note, including manufacturers.
“Consumers are getting more conscious,” the report reads. “They’re mindful of the products they put in and on their bodies and the environmental impact they have. As this consciousness increases, manufacturers are taking note.” According to the report, there seems to also be some connection between buying plant-based materials and consuming protein:
Plant protein powders generate 78% of sales of all plant-based products online, followed by books, and plant protein liquids, which each generate 5%.
Could America's dead-lifters and crossfit enthusiasts be leading a plant-based revolution? Apparently, seven of the top 10 plant-based brands online are protein powders, which is anecdotal evidence that folks taking care of their body are looking or protein sources that don't include eating animals. That awareness is leaking over into other aspects of their consumerism.
Cookbooks for vegetarian and vegan recipes are rising in popularity, and folks are looking for plant-based materials in their everyday products as well, for everything from shampoo to mosquito repellent. In fact, disposable compostable plates, utensils, and cups grew in sales by five times. People want their plant-based meals on plant-based products, with a helping of protein powder on the side.