In recent years, the plant-based food market has been growing to the point that sales exceed other food categories. According to a report from The Good Food Institute or GFI, plant-based food sales reached up to $7.4 billion this year. This figure equates to a growth of 54% since 2018, while the total food market only sees a gain of 2%.
The sales increase in plant-based food is quite striking. Moreover, the demand for meat alternatives and dairy-free products does not appear to be a fad, seeing that people are sticking with them.
Meanwhile, regular food sales did not seem to show any progress in the past years. Therefore, the report shows the undeniable growth in plant-based food and how much it surpassed the general food market.
The report also reveals the rate of how much each plant-based category increased in 2021. In terms of growth, nothing compares to the plant-based eggs, with over 42 percent increase. Creamers and ready-to-drink beverages and creamers come in next with 33 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, animal-based eggs reduced to four percent while dairy creamers remained stagnant.
How can the plant-based sector maintain this growth?
Karen Formanski, Research and Analysis Manager of GFI, shared a statement regarding keeping the growth of plant-based products consistent. She said that product innovation is the key for alternative meat categories to maintain or grow the market share. If plant-based food can find ways to improve texture and taste, then there’s a high chance that people will stick with them. Accessibility, affordability, and product diversity are also considered when it comes to consumers picking plant-based food over regular ones.
For plant-based foods to stay in people’s palates, the food industry must look for potential ways to keep them interested and strike while the iron is hot.
The report presents that alternatives for dairy milk products show some promise when it comes to milk. Sales for plant-based milk cover a good 16 percent of the overall retail milk sales. It increased up to $2.6 billion in the past years, about 33 percent of the whole milk market. On the other hand, sales of conventional milk actually decreased to two percent.
Among the plant-based milk products, oat milk is the type that has grown the most, with an increase of 17 percent.
Julie Emmett, Senior Director of Marketplace Development from Plant-Based Food Association, said that the improved market share of plant-based products is most likely due to every consumer’s aim to impact the environment and improve their personal health.