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U.S. plant-based retail market worth $4.5b

Plant-based food unit sales up 8.5%, while total U.S. food sales remain flat.

New data released by the Plant Based Foods Assn. (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute showed that U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11% over the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion. According to the data, the total U.S. retail food market has grown just 2% in dollar sales during this same period, showing that plant-based foods are a key driver of growth for retailers nationwide.

Plant Based Foods Assn.2019_3 year sales.jpg

Since April 2017, total plant-based food sales have increased 31%. Additionally, plant-based foods unit sales are up 8.5% compared to total U.S. food sales, which are flat, showing the overall health and momentum of the plant-based foods category. The statistics cover the total U.S. grocery marketplace and were commissioned by SPINS, a wellness-focused data technology company and retail analytics provider.

“Plant-based foods are a growth engine, significantly outpacing overall grocery sales,” PBFA senior director of retail partnerships Julie Emmett said. “We are now at the tipping point with the rapid expansion of plant-based foods across the entire store, so it is critical for retailers to continue to respond to this demand by offering more variety and maximizing shelf space to further grow total store sales.”

The plant-based meat category alone is worth more than $800 million, with sales up 10% in the past year. Plant-based meat now accounts for 2% of retail packaged meat sales. Refrigerated plant-based meat is driving category growth, with sales up an impressive 37%, the data showed. In comparison, sales in the conventional meat category grew just 2% during the same period.

The leading drivers of plant-based sales continue to be plant-based milk, other plant-based dairy such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream and plant-based meats. Sales of plant-based milk varieties have grown 6% over the past year and now make up 13% of the entire milk category. Meanwhile, sales of cow’s milk have declined 3%.

Plant Based Foods Assn.2019_all-sales_bycategory.jpg

According to the research, emerging plant-based dairy categories are growing even faster as more households are introduced to other plant-based dairy items. In the past year, plant-based yogurt has grown 39%, while conventional yogurt sales declined 3%; plant-based cheese has grown 19%, while conventional cheese sales are flat, and plant-based ice cream and frozen novelties have grown 27%, while conventional ice cream and frozen novelties have grown just 1%.

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