Plant-based food retail sales in the US were worth $7 billion in 2020. Market research in plant-based food shows a 27% growth rate in the US for products replacing animal-derived options. Data shows that a total of 57% of U.S. households purchased plant-based food in 2020.
We can all agree that the impact of pandemic on the F&B industry was enormous. However, the shift to plant-based foods began much before and will continue well into the future. Plant-based food market research shows the change in food habits and consumption comes from various factors. These include consumers consciously working towards sustainability, personal health, better immunity, and promotion of animal welfare.
Significant investments in plant-based food companies show that the world sees potential. Eat Just, is a California-based food tech company developing vegan eggs – Just Egg. With a mung bean base and turmeric for color, Just Egg received funding of US$200 million led by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Intolerance for animal protein, evolving customer expectations, and increasing vegan population are some of the other significant factors contributing to the growth of plant-based products.
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Is the Plant-based Industry Really Growing?
The pandemic has led to 63% of US consumers believing their nutritional needs can be met with a plant-based diet. This change in expectation and need was met by an expanding plant-based food market.
This large-scale increase in consumption of plant-based foods in 2020 was the direct result of meat producers and brands facing supply chain disruptions. Data for plant-based meat in the US show that sales grew by 45% in 2020 reaching US$1.4 billion, while refrigerated plant-based meat sales increased by 75%. The plant-based food market is expected to reach US$74.2 billion by 2027. Plant-based food data shows there has been a 116% increase in plant-based claims on new food and beverage [F&B] launches between 2018 and 2020.
Research shows the largest plant-based category – milk has reached US$2.5 billion and accounts for 35% of the total plant-based foods market in the US. Plant-based food data in the US shows plant-based yogurt grew 20% while plant-based cheese grew 42%. Quirky packaging, health benefits, and sustainability have served to keep consumers interested.
With US$3.1 billion invested in plant-based companies, there is immense scope for food innovation and expansion.
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Plant-based food research in the US shows that nearly a third of Americans are actively reducing their meat and dairy consumption. However, flexitarians are on the rise and offer a tremendous market for plant-based foods. The dairy alternatives segment is estimated to dominate the overall plant-based products market well into 2021.
Plant-based food market research demonstrates that the contributing factors include easy availability, cost-effectiveness, increased demand for meat protein alternatives, and a wider application base in many plant-based products categories.
There is no doubt taste is the primary deciding factor closely followed by health. Other major contributors to this are increasing lactose and animal-based food intolerance, growing awareness of animal abuse, environmental concerns, and nutritional benefits offered by plant-based products.
While conventional meat witnessed a boom in 2020, plant-based meat doubled that. With more consumers gradually reducing their meat consumption, research shows that plant-based meat has a high repeat rate, with 63% of consumers purchasing it multiple times. Data released by the PBFA shows that there is a 23% increase in the sale of plant-based meat when shelved next to traditional meat. Additionally, consumers today have an incredible array of choices. Impossible burgers, for instance, are now available at 20,000 stores in the US.
However, the relatively higher price range of some meat substitutes and an enduring preference for animal-based products are expected to slow the progress to a small extent.
F&B giants such as Nestle are focusing on expanding their plant-based options as a strategic imperative because they believe it is the future of the food industry. However, the biggest reason for the increased sale of plant-based meat in the US is the close price parity with animal meat.
Rapidly expanding urbanization, flourishing online sectors, and growing supermarkets are expected to drive sales higher.
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