Plant-Based Food Sales Exceed $3.7 Billion

Plant-Based Food Sales Exceed $3.7 Billion
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Sales of plant-based foods increased by 17 percent over the past year to exceed $3.7 billion, according to recently released data from the Good Food Institute. This shift is driven primarily by plant-based meat sales, which increased 23 percent, up from just six percent growth the previous year.

Approximately 12 percent of households now voluntarily buy plant-based alternatives according to the data, which was commissioned from Nielsen by GFI. The plant-based meat industry, specifically, is growing in all U.S. census regions, with some of the greatest growth coming from the middle of the country.

“The plant-based meat category today is reminiscent of the plant-based milk category about 10 years ago, when growth began to really take off,” says Caroline Bushnell, senior marketing manager at GFI, in a press release. “As it follows that trajectory, reaching share of market parity with plant-based milk would make the retail plant-based meat category worth almost $10 billion.”

This growth shows no signs of stopping; according to one Markets and Markets report published earlier this year, the plant-based meat substitutes market will likely reach $6.43 billion by 2023.

Fast Company reports that “a number of factors” are contributing to this increase in sales, including sustainability initiatives on the part of individual consumers and technological advancements from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat “that have transformed meat alternatives from rather dry, tasteless products into viable and delicious meals.”

Beyond Meat is the fastest-growing plant-based meat brand, according to the data, with sales up 70 percent.

The growth in this sector is particularly impressive given the lagging overall retail food sales sector. By comparison, U.S. retail food sales grew just two percent in the past year.

A recent EPIC-Oxford research review dubbed plant-based meat a “useful transition food” for people looking to live a healthier lifestyle, and research shows that many people purchasing these plant-based foods do so only part of the time. A recent Innova Market Insights report showed that 40 percent of U.S. customers have increased their consumption of plant-based alternatives in the past year. Meanwhile, only about six percent of U.S. citizens currently identify as vegan, according to a recent Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017 report.

Related on Organic Authority
Is Vegan the New Organic? Plant-Based Foods Top $3.1 Billion in Sales
Plant-Based Diet May Be the Key to Feeding the World
Busting 7 Plant-Based Diet Myths (Looking at You, Protein Deficiency!)
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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.