Plant-based sales grew twice as fast as overall food sales in 2020

New data shows that plant-based sales grew twice as fast as sales of overall food in 2020, penetrating nearly 60% of US households.

Plant-based food sales in the US reached $7 billion, growing 27% in the last year at a rate two times higher than the overall food market, according to new data released by SPINS.

Between 2018 and 2020, plant-based product sales grew by 43%, which is almost 2.5 times higher than the overall food industry’s 17% increase. The data, collated on behalf of the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association, showed that the overall household penetration by plant-based products is 57% in the US.

Plant-based milk is the most developed product, penetrating 39% of US households with sales reaching $2.5 billion. While vegan eggs is the least developed category — at $27 million — it is the fastest-growing with a year-on-year increase of 168%, which is 117 times higher than animal egg sales. Plant-based milk and meat grew at thrice the rate of their conventional counterparts.

plant based sales
Photo: Good Food Institute

This report follows data released last month that revealed the alt-protein sector gained a record investment of $3.1 billion in 2020, with plant-based meat alone accounting for $2.1 billion. The plant-based meat market in the US is now worth $1.4 billion according to the new report, which means a 45% increase in annual sales.

Dairy alternatives now account for 15% of the total share of US retail milk sales and make up 35% of the overall plant-based market. More than 745 million units of plant-based milk were sold in 2020, an 18% annual increase. A report last year showed oat milk was the fastest-growing alternative, with almond milk a clear leader.

This sales increase has laid a platform for the growth of other plant-based dairy categories, which include vegan ice cream and frozen novelty, creamers, yoghurt, butter, cheese, ready-to-drink beverages, spreads, dips, sour cream and sauces. These are with $1.9 billion, with a yearly increase of 28% and biyearly growth of 55%.

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