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The pandemic has helped to accelerate a process that has already been going on for a long time: consumers are increasingly choosing vegetable foods instead of animal ones, and 2020 in the United States has been a record year for sales in the sector.
Plant-based foods are a booming business
Plant-based food sales in 2020 grew 2x faster than overall food sales. Which, increased 15 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19 shutting down restaurants. We’ve summarized highlights from GFI data here to help you understand the size and growth of the U.S. retail plant-based food industry.
The plant-based milk products are a key driver of sales growth at grocery retailers nationwide, worth $2.5 billion. To date, it is usually bought by 39% of American consumers – even omnivores – and, in food stores, represents 45% of the total products sold in the milk department. Noteworthy is the fact that vegetable milk is always sold alongside that cow’milk, exactly where consumers expect to find it.
Vegetable meat, one of the symbols of the meat-free revolution in the world
2020 was ripe with new product introductions and increased consumer adoption in the plant-based meat category.
According to GFI data, the vegetable meat market reached a value of $ 1.4 billion in 2020, with sales growing by 45%.
Also important is the focus on vegetable fish: although the market is still expanding, in 2020 it reached a turnover of 12 million dollars, up 23% compared to the previous year.
The analysis also focuses on other product categories, such as tofu and tempeh. Sales of these soya products, widely used to replace protein foods of animal origin, recorded a strong growth in 2020, with a 41% increase during the year, for a total of 175 million dollars in sales.
The vegetable cheese sector has also experienced some of the greatest dollar sales growth, with a growth of 42.5%.
“The data tells us unequivocally that we are experiencing a fundamental shift as an ever-growing number of consumers are choosing foods that taste good and boost their health by incorporating plant-based foods into their diet.”
Julie Emmett, Senior Director of Retail Partnerships, PBFA