Market & Trends

Report: Vegan US-Market Reaches $3.3 billion

A market report by “Innova Market Insights” has already predicted that veganism will move away from a niche industry and will become more mainstream. There are now new figures that support this forecast.

The research enterprise Nielsen, which is considered as a market leader for consumer information, concerned itself with the development of veganism. The report has been commissioned by the Plant Based Food Association (PBFA). The analysis concludes that the US vegan food market reached 3.3 billion dollars last year. This would correspond to a growth of 20 percent. The report divides the growth of different plant foods into categories.

Growth of milk alternatives

Vegan milk alternatives are a broad category. This does not only include vegan milk, which is produced from almonds or soya, for example. Vegetable milk is up 9 percent on the previous year’s 3 percent. In addition, vegan milk sales account for 15 percent of total milk sales, while cow milk sales fell by 6 percent. Many dairies are noticing the change in the milk market and are reacting. The world’s largest yoghurt producer, “Danone”, has expanded its range by purchasing “WhiteWave Foods” and introducing vegan brands such as “Silk” and “Alpro” to its range. Dean Foods” has also acquired a majority stake in the vegan brand “Good Karma”. The US dairy “Elmhurst” has gone one step further and has switched completely to vegan milk.

The category also includes milk-free cheese, cream, butter, yoghurt and ice cream. All of them recorded a rapid market growth of 50 percent. Vegan coffee whiteners in particular recorded an increase of 131 percent. However, vegan yogurts also followed with a market growth of 55 percent and a turnover of 162 million dollars. The market for plant-based cheese also grew by 43 percent to 124 million dollars.

Growth of meat alternatives

The plant-based meat category was also well received by consumers and grew by 24 percent over the previous year’s figure of 6 percent. This year the vegan meat market has reached a turnover of 670 million dollars. The vegan alternatives, which are based on the carnal counterpart, are particularly popular. For example, Vivera, a producer of vegan steaks, must increase its production capacity to keep up with the demand. The production of Clean Meat (meat from the laboratory), is also promising. For example, the American start-up “JUST” wants to bring laboratory chicken meat onto the market this year.


Further research by Nielsen confirms that the plant food categories will continue to move closer to becoming the dominant market. A report published last June showed that vegan food sales accounted for 20 percent of total supermarket sales, out-pacing the growth of non-vegan food. According to the report, the vegan food market has outperformed non-vegan categories tenfold in all food departments. “The new data confirms what we hear and see from our members every day: Sales are rising, investments are rising and new jobs are being created in the plant food industry,” says Michele Simon, Managing Director of PBFA. “It is important that regulators and legislators treat our industry fairly and that the terms of competition for plant-based foods are fair at both the state and national levels.

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