New data released this month by The Good Food Institute (GFI) shows that U.S. retail sales of plant-based food grew an impressive 17 percent in the past 12 months, with total sales now topping $3.7 billion. Comparatively, total U.S. retail food sales grew just 2 percent during the same time period.
Plant-based meat sales alone have increased 23 percent in the past year, with the U.S. retail market now worth $684 million. The top five plant-based meat brands by total sales are Morningstar Farms, Gardein, Lightlife, Beyond Meat and Boca. The fastest growing plant-based meat brand is Beyond Meat with sales up 70 percent, followed by Field Roast (+68 percent), Gardein (+51 percent), Dr. Praeger’s (+44 percent) and Quorn (+31 percent).
The data reveals a nationwide shift, with sales of plant-based meat growing double-digits across all nine U.S. census regions, particularly in the country’s center. Refrigerated plant-based meat sales are growing fastest in the Mountain region, while frozen plant-based meat sales are growing fastest in the West South Central region, which includes Texas.
“As consumers look to decrease their meat consumption, more and more people are choosing plant-based meats,” said Alison Rabschnuk, GFI’s director of corporate engagement. “In fact, 12 percent of households across the U.S. now purchase plant-based meat. That’s an estimated 14.7 million households, which is a significant increase from last year, and I expect we’ll see that trend continue.”
Plant-based milk is now sold in 89 percent of all retail outlets and commands 13 percent of total retail milk sales nationally. Following in the footsteps of the now nearly ubiquitous plant-based milk category, the fastest growing plant-based products are “other dairy alternatives,” including creamers with sales up 62 percent followed by yogurt (+54 percent), cheese (+41 percent), and ice-cream (+40 percent).
“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,” said Caroline Bushnell, senior marketing manager at GFI. “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.”
The custom data set represents retail sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products, including meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy, as well as meals that contain direct animal ingredient replacements. Milk is defined as ready-to-drink liquid milk products and excludes condensed, evaporated and canned milk products. This data was obtained over the 52-week period ending Aug. 11 from Nielsen’s Expanded All Outlets Combined Channel, which includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores and military stores, plus Whole Foods Market.