U.S. Plant-Based Food Sales Reach $5 Billion; Growing 5x Faster Than Non-Plant-Based Market

Photos from Oatly, Facebook

New data released yesterday by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI) shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11.4% in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion.

The total U.S. retail food market has grown just 2.2% in dollar sales during this same period, and was flat in unit sales, showing that plant-based foods are a key driver of growth for retailers nationwide. This data covers the total grocery marketplace and was commissioned from SPINS, a wellness-focused data technology company and leading retail analytics provider.

The leading drivers of plant-based sales continue to be plant-based milks, meat, dairy alternatives in general, and plant-based meals. Sales of plant-based milks grew 5% over the past year, now making up 14% of the entire milk category. Meanwhile, cow milk sales are nearly flat.

The total plant-based meat category alone is worth more than $939 million, with sales up 18% in the past year. Refrigerated plant-based meat is driving growth up 63%.

In comparison, sales in the conventional meat category grew just 3% during the same period. Plant-based meat now accounts for 2% of retail packaged meat sales.

“Plant-based foods remain a growth engine, up 29% over the last two years,” PBFA Senior Director of Retail Partnerships Julie Emmett said in a statement.  Growth is fueled by innovation in categories across the store and retailers are responding by expanding shelf space to satisfy the rapidly expanding consumer base seeking more plant-based foods.”

Emerging plant-based dairy categories are growing even faster as more households are introduced to new plant-based dairy items, while sales of many conventional animal-based products are stagnate or have declined.

In the past year, plant-based yogurt has grown 31%, while conventional yogurt declined 1%; plant-based cheese has grown 18%, while conventional cheese has remained flat at 1% growth. Plant-based creamers alone account for almost $300 million, growing 34% with its share of total creamers growing from 4% a year ago to 5% in 2019.

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