San Francisco, CA –Sales of plant-based foods grew 20% over the last year and sales topped $3.3 billion, according to Nielsen data commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). This is a strong increase from last year’s growth rate of 8%.

In contrast, the overall food sector grew by only 2%, according to Nielsen.

“Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today,” said Michele Simon, executive director of PBFA, in the statement announcing the numbers.

“Other” plant-based dairy alternatives, which excludes milks, are growing at an even faster rate – up 50%. This category includes plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter, yogurts and ice creams. Additional data shows:
  • The plant-based milk category is up 9% (compared to 3% the previous year), and comprise about half the total dollar volume, at $1.6 billion.
  • Cow’s milk dollar sales are down 6%. Plant-based milk comprises 15% of total milk sales.
  • Plant-based meats are growing at 24% (compared to 6% the previous year) topping $670 million in sales.
  • Plant-based creamers are up 131% with $109 million in sales.
  • Plant-based cheeses are growing at 43%, with $124 million in sales.
  • Plant-based yogurts are growing at 55%, at $162 million in sales.
“The new data confirms what we are hearing and seeing every day from our members: sales are up, investment is increasing, and new jobs are being created in the plant-based foods industry,” said Simon. “It is important that regulators and legislators treat our industry fairly and the playing field for plant-based foods is level and fair at the state and national levels.”

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottliebhas said the administration plans to crack down on the use of the term "milk" on non-dairy milk alternatives.

Nielsen measured plant-based foods that directly replace animal products – including meat, seafood, eggs and dairy, as well as meals that contain direct replacements for these animal products. Within each category, both branded products and private labeled items were included. Sales were tracked in all outlets, including grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores and military stores, plus Whole Foods Market.