Australian women spread veganism through Instagram

Nowhere is growth of the vegan movement more evident than on Instagram, where countless photos of mouth-watering, plant-based meals are posted to accounts that attract followers in the tens of thousands.

Many of the most popular accounts belong to Australian women.

“Perhaps the number of Australian women vegan-lifestyle Instagram accounts can be explained by the popularity of Freelee The Banana Girl,” said Greg McFarlane of Vegan Australia, a non-profit charity that campaigns for veganism.

Screenshot 2016-06-01 at 11.11.28 PM

Leanne Ratcliffe, a.k.a. Freelee the Banana Girl, has more than 443,000 followers on Instagram.

Freelee, real name Leanne Ratcliffe, made headlines Down Under (Freelee the Banana Girl and vegan YouTubers are the next Kardashians) over a legal dispute with another online personality. Ratcliffe boasts an Instagram account with over 443,000 followers.

Meanwhile, another Australian appears in headlines in the United Kingdom. Taline Gabrielian was featured in a Daily Mail article declaring vegan food doesn’t need to be boring. Gabrielian’s account has more than 380,000 followers.

Perhaps the phenomenon can be explained by a headline that ran in another U.K. paper, The Guardian: The rise of vegan teenagers: ‘More people are into it because of Instagram’

“On Instagram, people make veganism look like a very desirable lifestyle, and young girls can be influenced by that,” Megan Malthouse, 17, says in the article. “They always show pictures of vegan people looking beautiful and healthy.”

And where women go, men usually follow.

“Australian women are much more likely to be vegan than men,” said McFarlane. Of the 6,710 people who liked the Vegan Australia Facebook page, 79% are women. Of them, 26% are between the ages of 25-34. The two surrounding age groups — 18-24 and 35-44 — make up 16% and 17% respectively.

Male fans make up 19% of the audience. The 25-34 age group represents the biggest share, with 7%.

Numbers that are sure to grow as the vegan lifestyle spreads through these and other Instagram accounts:

100,000 followers and over

Over 50,000 but less than 100,000 followers

Over 20,000 but less than 50,000 followers

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