The plant-based food industry is now worth $4.5 billion, according to data jointly released today by advocacy group Good Food Institute (GFI) and trade group Plant Based Food Association (PBFA). Compiled by analytics firm SPINS over a 52-week period ending on April 29, 2019, the data shows that while the retail food market in the United States grew by two percent, sales in the plant-based food sector have grown by 11 percent. “Plant-based foods are a growth engine, significantly outpacing overall grocery sales,” Julie Emmett, PBFA Senior Director of Retail Partnerships, 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.” When it comes to particular categories, sales of plant-based milk (up by six percent in the last year) now comprise 13 percent of the entire milk category—with cow milk sales down by three percent in the same period. Plant-based meat currently amounts to two percent of all packaged meat and is a $800 million industry, with sales up by 10 percent in the past year and an increase of 37 percent in sales in the vegan refrigerated meat sector. For comparison, sales of animal meat grew by only two percent during the same period. While sales of vegan yogurt, cheese, and ice cream are steadily rising (up by 39 percent, 19 percent, and 27 percent, respectively), sales of the traditional dairy versions of these items are either declining or stagnant. “This is just the beginning of a massive growth period for plant-based foods,” GFI Director of Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell said. “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.”

Photo Credit: Tofurky

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