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  • Jeff Ishee

Vegan diets having big impact on food industry


Washington, D.C. - New data recently released 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent over the past year, now making up 14 percent of the entire milk category. Meanwhile, cow's milk sales are nearly flat.

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

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

"Plant-based foods remain a growth engine, up 29 percent over the last two years," said PBFA Senior Director of Retail Partnerships Julie Emmett. "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 stagnate or decline. In the past year, plant-based yogurt has grown 31 percent, while conventional yogurt declined 1 percent; plant-based cheese has grown 18 percent, while conventional cheese has remained flat at 1 percent growth.

Plant-based creamers alone account for almost $300 million, growing 34 percent with its share of total creamers growing from 4 percent a year ago to 5 percent in 2019.


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