2019 retail sales of plant-based meat total $939 million

Sales of plant-based proteins in retail grew to $939 million in 2019, resulting in more than 208 million units sold, according to a new report from the Good Food Institute (GFI).

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Photocritical | Bigstock.com
Photocritical | Bigstock.com

Sales of plant-based proteins in retail grew to $939 million in 2019, resulting in more than 208 million units sold, according to a new report from the Good Food Institute (GFI).

The Good Food Institute is an international nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the transition of the world’s food system to plant-based and cultivated meat, eggs and dairy.

Meat alternatives went mainstream in 2019, with more than 700 new plant-based meat, egg and dairy products in the retail market.

“The plant-based meat category today is reminiscent of the plant-based milk category in its early stages of rapid growth—plant-based milk now accounts for 14% of all dollar sales for retail milk,” the report noted.

Several top meat companies launched plant-based protein products or invested in the segment last year, including Smithfield, Hormel, Cargill, JBS and Tyson. Investments in plant-based proteins reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2020, obtaining more than $700 million in funding.

More stats on plant-based foods in retail

More than 80% of retailers offer at least 10 different refrigerated plant-based meat stock keeping units (SKUs), 39% of retailers featured plant-based products next to animal-based products and more than half of retailers used the phrase “plant-based” instead of the word vegan to promote these products to a larger audience.

Approximately 50% of the retail stores surveyed for the report sold at least one plant-based egg product.

The report singled out Whole Foods, Wegmans and the Kroger-owned brand King Soopers as top retail performers in the plant-based food sector. The report ranked retailers based on product assortment, merchandising and marketing of plant-based meat, eggs and dairy.

“Traditional meat eaters and flexitarians are embracing plant-based products, which means it is critical for retailers to employ plant-based strategies that attract the mainstream consumer. Plant-based eating is no longer niche. Retailers are leaving money on the table when they isolate plant-based sets in hard-to-find sections or use exclusive category language, like ‘vegetarian,’” said GFI Associate Director of Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell.

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