Data flowing out of the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Food Association has shown that the plant-based industry reached the $4.5 billion value with a 5-fold increase in retail sales in the past year. In a nutshell, all the food replacing animal products inclusive of dairy, eggs, meat, and seafood is surging at lightning speed, potentially replacing their animal-based counterparts sooner than we think.
Plant-Based Foods for Wider Range of Consumers
Plant-based milk constituted 13% of the total retail milk sales – an increase of 6% from last year – paired with a drop of 3% in conventional milk sales. Striding in the dairy section, vegan cheese has risen by 19% while conventional cheese maintained its past sales. Vegan yoghurt sales were boosted by 39% while conventional yoghurt decreased by 3%. Sales of vegan ice-cream increased by 27% while conventional ice cream climbed by only 1%.
Hence, only one thing is certain from data technology and analytics provider SPINS – plant-based food is topping conventional food in retail sales. The potential to transform itself from a growing to a mainstream market is not entirely an imagination. Placement of plant-based products next to their animal-based peers has put plant-based milk to where it is today – and with the development of ‘next generation’ refrigerated meat, expect meatless meat to be the new norm. That’s why the 9.6% increase of total plant-based meat up to $801m does not come as a surprise.
A sub-conscious tendency for convenience shopping attracted a new range of consumers looking for the ‘center of plate protein’. Refrigerated plant-based meat sales increase over frozen plant-based meat was 35% higher due to easier access to the ‘meat’. Shelf meat only contributed to a 2% increase but that did not cancel out the 37% rise from the previous year.
“This is just the beginning of a massive growth period for plant-based foods,” said GFI associate director of corporate engagement Caroline Bushnell. “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.”
If plant-based meat keeps the same trajectory plant-based milk has it won’t be long until it’s worth about $10 billion. Not bad, not bad at all, for an industry that did not exist just a short while ago.