Studies & Numbers

Growth in US Sales of Plant-Based Products is Surpassing Growth in Animal Products at a Staggering Rate

New data released today by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute reveals that US sales of plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs have outpaced sales of animal products for the third year running, with over 40% consuming non-dairy milk and one in six US households consuming plant-based meat. Plant-based cheese grew by 42% – almost twice the rate of dairy cheese, while plant-based eggs grew 168%, almost 10 times the rate of poultry eggs.

The report provides a wealth of findings, including:

  • Plant-based milk dollar sales grew 20% – twice as fast as those of cow’s milk – to $2.5 billion. Almost 40% of US households now purchase plant-based milk. Oat milk leapt to second place in the segment – behind almond and ahead of soy – with sales more than tripling in 2020. 
  • US retail sales of plant-based foods continued to increase in 2020, growing 27% and bringing the total plant-based market value to $7 billion. This growth in dollar sales was consistent across the US, with more than 25% growth in every census region. This is almost twice the growth rate of the total retail food market.
  • Plant-based meat dollar sales grew an impressive 45% – twice as fast as those of conventional meat – up to $1.4 billion total. More than one in six US households now purchase plant-based meat. 

The data identified the increasing placement of refrigerated plant-based meat products in meat sections as one cause for the significant 75% growth in the segment. In contrast, frozen plant-based meat sales only saw growth of 30% in 2020 – though still a tenfold increase from 2019. Importantly, the data found that consumers are repeat buyers – with 63% of shoppers identified as high-repeat customers.

Plant-based milk – the largest plant-based category – reached $2.5 billion, accounting for 35% of the total plant-based food market. The data highlights how this plant-based dairy alternative sector has propelled the growth of other products, such as plant-based yogurt with 20% growth, almost seven times the rate of conventional yogurt. Plant-based cheese also enjoyed a 42% growth rate, almost twice the rate of conventional cheese. Plant-based eggs grew 168%, almost 10 times the rate of conventional eggs. The plant-based dairy product sector is now collectively approaching $2 billion.

© Eat Just, Inc.

PBFA Senior Director of Retail Partnerships Julie Emmett commented; “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. As this industry surpasses the $7B threshold, PBFA is excited to continue our work to help build a sustainable infrastructure, including domestic ingredients sourcing, for this growing demand to expand access to plant-based foods.”

GFI Research Analyst Kyle Gaan adds; “2020 was a breakout year for plant-based foods across the store. The incredible growth we saw in plant-based foods overall, particularly plant-based meat, surpassed our expectations and is a clear sign of where consumer appetites are heading. Almost 40% of households now have plant-based milk in their fridge, and at this rate, it won’t be long until we see just as many households purchasing plant-based meat.”

ClosePlease login
See all bookmarks