Google’s view of Gluten Free


In no way is this blog post scientific, instead, it is merely a quick search on Google of three key phrases; “gluten free,” “dairy free,” and “vegan.”

I’m often asked the question, “don’t you think gluten-free is just a fad, and that eventually it will go away?” I understand how certain people may think so; one day they’ve never heard of gluten, and suddenly the next day they’re hearing people talking about this “gluten thing” all around them. Of course, everyone isn’t talking about it like it may seem, but enough casual references understandably can make someone think “gluten free” is in fact the newest fad.

I do not think gluten free is a fad, in fact, I know it’s not a fad. And so does our little friend Google.

If I search “dairy free” all I get (at least the relevant search results) is a list of private companies offering dairy free items and/or services. Oh and, a bunch of pictures of cows being crossed out with a red line…

If I search “vegan,” I at least get a wiki link (hopefully unbiased), but the rest, just like dairy free’s results are simply listings of companies offering goods of services related to their vegan customers.

Now, when I search “gluten free” I get a hit with the mayo clinic, an entire news section on gluten free, and then mixed below those listings are an array of private individual’s blogs dedicated to gluten free.

What’s the point? As we know, Google does not have a mind of it’s own (hard to believe); instead, we the users, are the creators of Google’s search results and so Google gears it’s results toward a listing most favorable to us. What’s so encouraging, compared to the “dairy free” and “vegan” search results, is that the “gluten free” search results consist almost entirely of unbiased useful information. Think about a sharing, open market environment. That’s basically what Google has created for us. Google, or us, have weeded out sales geared ads and instead provided search engine users with useful information.

But what about the fad? A fad to me is “big business” convincing consumers they must have a certain product, and the consumer, with no loyalty, buying into the big business’ pitch. Inevitably if a consumer buys a product not out of a true self interest and instead is being persuaded into the purchase due to popularity, they eventually will lose interest in the product, and thus the product, or at least the popularity of it, dies off; hence a fad.

But gluten free is the complete opposite. It’s user generated, engaged consumers and health professionals making a gluten free life style easier and easier each day.

Currently, the phrase “gluten free” hovers around 10% of all search results from Google. In comparison,  “dairy free” is at around 7%, and “vegan” shows 8%. Though interestingly in 2004 “dairy free” and “vegan” were around 4% and “gluten free” was around 1%.

As I’ve said before, theres a huge difference between a trend and a fad.

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