The plant-based food sector market has now topped $3.1 billion in sales, having grown 8.1% over the past year.
These findings come from the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute released new data commissioned from Nielsen, the retail sales research company.
The data scans all outlets, which include grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores, and military stores, plus Whole Foods.
According to the data, the growth overall in plant-based foods was 8.1% since last year, as compared to a decline of 0.2 % all foods sold in the same channel.
This custom data set was compiled from specific lists of plant-based foods for each category that represents a replacement for animal products.
It showed that plant-based dairy alternatives are a fast-growing category, with 20% growth, topping $700 million in sales over the past year.
This category – which excludes milks, includes plant-based cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams. Yogurt shows significant growth, at 56% since last year, according to the data.
The plant-based milk category is up 3.1% since last year. Over the same period, according to the Nielsen data, cow’s milk sales are down about 5%.
These findings come as a bill has been introduced in Congress that would prohibit plant-based food makers from using words such as “milk,” “cheese,” or “yogurt,” even with appropriate modifiers such as “soy”, “almond” and “dairy-free”.
The results also showed plant-based meats growing at 6% compared to a year ago.
Refrigerated meats are growing more than frozen, according to the data, at 23% since last year.
Plant-based meat claims 2.1% of sales in refrigerated and frozen meat products sold at retail, as defined by the Nielsen data set. Plant-based milk comprises 9.3% of milk sales.
“There is a revolution going on in the plant-based meat space,” said Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of The Good Food Institute.
“Right now, the sector is small, but growing, and we are working hard to create a viable market sector. It is especially impressive to see that all the plant-based companies are working cooperatively, because a rising tide will lift all boats.”