Makeover Monday week 39, 2017: Restricted Dietary Requirements around the World

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Last week we were racing, and like any good athlete, we’re always hungry, so this week the Makeover Monday data is about dietary requirements around the world.

Talking about food is something I enjoy just as much as cooking or eating food. So I liked this topic and I really enjoyed the simplicity of the dataset.

The original visualisation was published in a research report by Nielsen on food and eating trends around the world and it looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 3.37.58 pm.png

What works well:

  • At first glance, the visuals are engaging with their large icons or names and the bright colours
  • The distinct colours make it easy to differentiate each region and it’s that the colour legend is in the same order as the charts
  • The data source is stated
  • The definition for ‘flexitarian’ is useful as it is probably the one type of diet people know the least about


What could be improved:

  • Sorting the ‘diets’ by percentage of total responses doesn’t seem very logical to me. An alphabetical or categorical sort would be better in my opinion
  • The curved bar chart donut chart combination is not intuitive and not easy to understand. This type of visualisation makes it difficult to compare the different regions within each ‘diet’, especially as there are no reference lines
  • To me, instead of splitting the data by diet and comparing the regions, I’d be keen to see the data the other way around


What I did:

  • I have an issue with lumping all these ‘diets’ together. In my view the data contains diets that are health related (but often initiated through ‘dieting’), then there are diets which are necessary due to food allergies or sensitivities and lastly there are dietary choices based in religious law or ethics.
  • For this reason I grouped the different diets and focused only on my last category: diets based on religious laws or moral/ethical reasons, which include kosher, halal, vegan and vegetarian diets. For me these ‘diets’ are about far more than just food, and the food component of them is very straight forward, following certain ‘rules’, while diets such as ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar conscious’ are wide open for anyone to interpret the way they choose.
  • I was interested to see what ‘diets’ out of these religious/ethical approaches are represented in the different regions
  • As per my critique above, I intended to focus on a region and present the comparison of diets within each region rather than the other way round
  • I also wanted to do everything in Tableau Public instead of Desktop. Why? Purely because I was already sitting in front of my iMac at home and I wanted to delay opening my work laptop until the latest possible moment on this sunny Sunday 🙂

(click to see interactive version)

week 39.png


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