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Plant-based food sales rose 11% last year, moving beyond niche status

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Dairy alternatives, the most popular animal substitute, grew at 5.6% and accounted for 13% of the entire fluid milk category. Traditional dairy milk declined more than 3% during the same period.

KRISTEN LEIGH PAINTER: ‘U.S. sales of plant-based foods grew 11% last year as retailers increasingly put them on shelves next to their animal-based counterpart… and 31% over the past two years… The annual numbers show where the plant-based market has matured, such as alternative milks, and where it is just getting started, like plant-based eggs. The sales update, published by Good Food Institute (GFI) and Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), two interest groups advancing plant-based foods, offers a yearly glimpse into this burgeoning market that reached $4.5 billion in the last year, ending in April 2019.

Plant-based foods are no longer hyper-niche products relegated to small sections of a grocery store aisle. There has also been an uptick in innovation, leading to new products that are appealing to more than just vegans and vegetarians. “We are seeing these numbers grow as retailers make these merchandising shifts and taking them out of the sad vegetarians corners,” said Caroline Bushnell, GFI’s associate director of corporate engagement… Plant-based meat grew less than 10% last year, which outpaced traditional meat’s 2.2% growth, but was far below the previous year’s growth rate of 25%…

Dairy alternatives are the most popular animal substitutes, accounting for more than two-thirds of the entire plant-based market. The less-developed alternative categories, like plant-based ice cream or yogurt, have a lot of ground to make up and are growing the fastest, at 26.5% and 39.1% year-over-year growth, respectively. Meanwhile, the plant-based hero, milk, is moderating at 5.6% growth as more consumers have already incorporated these products, like almond, soy and oat milk, into their daily lives. That’s still a much better rate than traditional dairy milk, which declined more than 3% during the same period. Plant-based milk now accounts for 13% of the entire fluid milk category’. SOURCE…

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