Last Updated on June 29, 2021

Main Takeaways

  • Tweets mentioning the word Vegan beat tweets mentioning Carnivore by a landslide
  • Tweets mentioning the word Vegetarian take second place
  • Vegan is the most mentioned diet on social media out of all three diets
  • On August 20th 2020, democratic candidate Joe Biden gave his acceptance speech for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at the 2020 Democratic National Convention
  • Coincidentally, there are significantly less tweets on August 20th 2020
  • Tweets mentioning the word Vegan have a higher polarity score;
  • Negative tweets including the word Vegan are more negative than negative tweets mentioning the words Vegetarian or Carnivore
  • Positive tweets mentioning Vegan are more positive than other positive tweets mentioning either the words Carnivore or Vegetarian

Two-thousand-twenty (2020) will historically be remembered as the year of COVID-19, quarantine, unprecedented economic turmoil and a potentially paradigm-shattering civic uncertainty to boot.

But, what about food?

As millions are forced to drastically re-think their daily lives, we at Seriously Smoked took it upon ourselves to analyze any potential changes in the eating habits of North Americans and the impact thereof over the course of summer 2020.

Methodology

First we extracted millions of English-written tweets using Twint, and then we ran the results through TextBlob.

TextBlob is a Python library that allows for the processing of textual data. It can be used for numerous NLP (natural language processing) analysis tasks, including sentiment analysis – which was the main focus of our research.

Moreover, TextBlob analyzes both single words and full sentences, and assigns them two scores:

  1. Polarity score – between -1 and 1; the higher the score, the more positive the tweet is
  2. Subjectivity score – between 0 and 1; the higher the score, the more subjective the tweet is (less factual, more about feelings)

These scores were then used to categorize the tweets in three main categories:

  1. neutral
  2. positive
  3. negative

The results were surprising, to say the least.

Vegan VS Carnivore VS Vegetarian Diet

Before the initial study began, we asked a simple question:

Is Joe Rogan’s carnivore diet more popular than vegan diets in the States?

Here are the results.

Graph 1 - Popularity

As we can tell from the graph, tweets mentioning the word “vegan” beat tweets mentioning “carnivore” by a landslide, while tweets mentioning the word “vegetarian” ended up distant second.

More precisely, there were around 1.1M vegan tweets, around 280K vegetarian tweets and around 35K carnivore tweets.

Meanwhile, duplicated tweets were removed (ex. same ad posted multiple times a day).

Conclusion: There are significantly more tweets mentioning “vegan” than “vegetarian” or “carnivore”.

It seems like Joe Rogan’s influence is not enough to prevail over the up-and-coming “healthy living” fad, depending on everyone’s preconceived notions.

Graph 2 – Mentions over time

Graph No. 2 showcases tweets over time, or the evolution of tweets for each category over a period of 3 months (June, July and August 2020).

Conclusion: there were significantly less tweets on the 4th of July and August 20th, as compared to other days in summer 2020.

For one of the dates, this outcome is not very surprising, considering the 4th of July is a major holiday (Independence Day) in the States.

On the other hand, August 20th 2020 seems like any ordinary day at first glance, except for the fact that democratic candidate Joe Biden gave his acceptance speech for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at the 2020 Democratic National Convention on that date.

Coincidence?

Graph 3 – Proportions Analysis

This graph features the share of positive, negative, and neutral tweets for each category. As we can see from the graph, the proportions are relatively similar.

About 50% of tweets are positive across all categories.

Finally, important to note is that tweets mentioning the word “Carnivore” are almost entirely about the carnivore diet, but “Vegan” tweets include many ads for restaurants, but also beauty, makeup and skincare products as well.

This could also potentially explain the enormous discrepancy in tweet volumes as seen in Graph 1.

Graphs 4, 5 and 6 – Sentiment Analysis

Graphs 4, 5 and 6 showcase the positive, negative and neutral tweets over time for their respective keywords (one keyword per graph).

Graph 4 – Vegan SA

Graph 5 – Carnivore SA

Graph 6 – Vegetarian SA

Surprisingly, the sentiment analysis is the least surprising part of the study. 

In fact, people are MOST inclined to talk positively, LESS inclined to talk neutrally, and EVEN LESS inclined to talk negatively about their preferred diets.

Graphs 7, 8 and 9 – Examples of Negative Tweets

Graphs 7, 8 and 9 showcase several negative tweet examples for their respective categories (one category per graph).

Graph 7 – Vegan

Graph 8 – Vegetarian

Graph 9 – Carnivore

Graphs 10, 11 and 12 – Examples of Positive Tweets

Graphs 10, 11 and 12 showcase several positive tweet examples for their respective categories (one category per graph).

Graph 10 – Carnivore

Graph 11 – Vegan

Graph 12 – Vegetarian

Graph 13 – Number of Likes and Retweets

Graph 13 shows the number of likes and retweets for tweets mentioning the words “Vegan”, “Vegetarian” and “Carnivore” over the course of June, July and August 2020.

For tweets mentioning the word “Carnivore”, there are around 220K likes and around 30K retweets.

For tweets including “Vegan” in the tweet, there are around 11M likes and around 1.9M retweets.

For tweets that mention the word “Vegetarian”, there are around 2.8M likes and around 530K retweets. 

Again, “Vegan” comes out on top by a significant margin over the other two categories.

Graph 14 – Polarity Analysis

Here we looked at the average polarity of negative, positive, and neutral tweets. The higher the score: the more positive it is. The lower the score: the more negative the polarity is.

As we can see from the graph, polarity is higher for tweets mentioning the word “Vegan”. This means that negative tweets including the word “Vegan” are more negative than negative tweets mentioning the words “Vegetarian” or “Carnivore”. To that end, positive tweets mentioning “Vegan” are more positive than other positive tweets mentioning either the words “Carnivore” or “Vegetarian” as well.