Plant-based food sales totaled more than $3.3 billion from June 2017 to June 2018, according to a report compiled by market research firm Nielsen Holdings and commissioned by trade group Plant Based Food Association (PBFA). The report found that plant-based foods are also growing within individual categories, particularly sales of plant-based creamers that grew 131 percent and amounted to $109 million in sales dollars. Sales in categories such as plant-based meat, cheese, and yogurt have all increased by 24 percent, 43 percent, and 55 percent, respectively. “The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream,” Michele Simon, executive director of 114-member PBFA, said. “Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today.” Nielsen found that plant-based food sales had increased by 20 percent since last June, as compared to only a 2-percent increase in sales across other retail categories such as refrigerated, deli, grocery, dairy, meat, produce, bakery, and frozen foods. Simon explained that these figures should be considered by legislators as they debate whether or not plant-based foods should be allowed to use labels such as “milk” or “meat”—terms organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration have stated are confusing to consumers. “The new data confirms what we are hearing and seeing every day from our members: sales are up, investment is increasing, and new jobs are being created in the plant-based foods industry,” Simon said. “It is important that regulators and legislators treat our industry fairly, and the playing field for plant-based foods is level and fair at the state and national levels.”
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