The plant-based food industry is experiencing growth whilst conventional meat and dairy sales are staying flat or decreasing. New data released by The Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) looks at how vegan meat and dairy is outmatching animal-based foods.
The research was commissioned from wellness-focused data technology and retail analytics provider SPINS, a subsidiary of Nielsen. The research found that U.S. retail sales of vegan food increased 11 percent in the past year, with the plant-based market now valued at $4.5 billion. The total U.S. retail food market grew by just 2 percent during the same period, highlighting the influence of vegan food in the industry.
Vegan Food Overtaking Animal Products
Dairy-free milk, plant-based dairy items like cheese and ice cream, and vegan meat products are leading the growth.
The plant-based meat category alone is worth more than $800 million — sales went up 10 percent in the past year. Sales of refrigerated vegan meat have gone up 37 percent while sales in the animal-based meat category only increased 2 percent.
Plant-based milk sales have risen 6 percent over the past year — now accounting for 13 percent of the milk category — whilst cow’s milk sales have dropped by 3 percent in the same period.
The vegan yogurt category increased by 39 percent and conventional yogurt decreased by 3 percent. Plant-based cheese grew 39 percent as its dairy counterpart stayed flat. Vegan ice cream and frozen novelty surged by 27 percent while conventional ice cream and frozen novelty went up by 1 percent.
“This is just the beginning of a massive growth period for plant-based foods,” Good Food Institute Associate Director of Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell said in a statement. “Consumer appetite for plant-based foods is surging as consumers increasingly make the switch to foods that match their changing values and desire for more sustainable options. This growth will continue as more companies bring next-generation innovations to market that really deliver on the most important driver of consumer choice: taste.”
Plant Based Foods Association’s Senior Director of Retail Partnerships Julie Emmett commented, “Plant-based foods are a growth engine, significantly outpacing overall grocery sales.” Emmett added that the market is now at a “tipping point.”