A new study by the Good Food Institute (GFI), which represents the plant-based foods industry, found that sales of substitutes for animal products have exceeded $3.7 billion.
While total US retail food sales grew just two percent over the last 12 months, retail sales of plant-based foods grew 17 percent during the same time period.
“The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream,” said Michele Simon, Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA).
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Simon explained that plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are now consumed not just by vegetarians but “even mainstream consumers” who are “enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today.”
The report found that sales of plant-based ‘meat’ increased 23 percent in the past year, up from six percent growth the previous year. Retail sales of plant-based products grew double-digits across all nine US census regions.
GFI predicted that the global meat alternatives market is set to grow over the coming years, reaching $6.3 billion by 2023. It is currently valued at $4.63 billion.
As consumers look to decrease their meat consumption, more and more people are choosing plant-based meat. In fact, 12 percent of households across the US now purchase plant-based meat,” said GFI Director of Corporate Engagement Alison Rabschnuk.
“[This is] a significant increase from last year and I expect we’ll see that trend continue,” Rabschnuk added.
The research also found that “the plant-based meat category today is looking suspiciously like the plant-based milk category about ten years ago.”
Plant-based milk (a $1.8 billion market) commands a full 13 percent of total retail milk sales nationally. By contrast, it accounts for just about one percent of total US retail meat sales.
GFI noted that plant-based milk has become an increasingly common household staple and people are seeking out other plant-based dairy products. Those “other dairy alternatives” are seeing some of the greatest sales growth, according to GFI.