Experts estimate that the plant-based foods market will reach $162 billion in the next ten years. This is a MAJOR marketplace transformation, and understanding it is going to determine the future of many businesses, especially in the food retail and service industry. The numbers are truly impressive.
U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods continue to increase, bringing the total plant-based market value to an all-time high of $7.4 billion. “The sustained rise in the market share of plant-based foods is remarkable, and makes it clear that this shift is here to stay,” said Julie Emmett, PBFA’s (Plant Based Foods Association) Senior Director of Marketplace Development. “More and more consumers are turning to plant-based options that align with their values and desire to have a positive impact on personal and planetary health. The data shows that, despite the challenges of the past two years, retailers and foodservice providers are meeting consumers where they are by partnering with brands across the entire store to expand space, increase assortment, and make it easier than ever to find and purchase plant-based foods. The potential impact of these initiatives extends far beyond the store shelf. By taking consumer concerns to heart, the industry is actively embracing its role as a key driver of change that moves us closer to a secure and sustainable food system.”
Plant-based food retail sales grew three times faster than total food retail sales. In the case of certain products like milk and creamers, plant-based food sales have become the growth engine of their overall categories. Plant-based milk contributed $105 million in growth, while animal-based milk’s decline equated to a loss of $264 million in the overall milk category. 2021 plant-based meat dollar sales remained steady and achieved a repeat year of $1.4 billion in sales. In the past three years, however, plant-based meat sales have skyrocketed, growing by 74%.
While inflation and rising food prices may lead consumers to be more frugal, plant-based items are consistently making it into their shopping carts. We can assume that plant-based foods have jumped from the “nice-to-have” to the “must-have” category.
62% or 79 million U.S. households are now buying plant-based products. More consumers are trying plant-based foods and coming back. Millennials and Gen Z, i.e. 47% of the population, will continue to grow in their spending power, and they already demonstrate particularly high demand for plant-based foods.
The consumers are also showing their desire for more variety in the plant-based categories. While burgers remain the most popular alternative meat product, the fastest-growing plant-based meat product types in 2021 were plant-based meatballs, chicken nuggets, tenders, cutlets, and deli slices.
This creates a huge opportunity for plant-based seafood. It has grown 14% from $14 million, and while now it accounts for just 1% of the plant-based meat market, the potential here is limitless.
In this context, the foodservice industry is also experiencing phenomenal growth. One-third of Millennial and Gen Z diners are seeking out vegetarian/vegan entrées as a first choice on menus, and 27% of older adults follow suit. Restaurants should take notice of this major shift and jump on the opportunity if they want to be part of the future, which is undoubtedly goint to be plant-based. There is just no other way to go for the Western civilization.
“The incredible growth of the plant-based category that we are seeing is particularly impressive if we consider the challenges presented by the pandemic and disrupted supply networks,” says Ross Glick, co-founder and CEO of Vegan Warrior Project, “This shows that consumers are interested in switching to a plant-based diet because it is healthier and also aligns with their ideas about a more sustainable future.”
Companies like Vegan Warrior Project, which helps restaurants optimize their kitchen capacity, are displaying their unwavering commitment to developing innovative approaches that enable the foodservice industry to ride out any storms and create healthy, delicious food.
About Vegan Warrior Project (VWP)
VWP is a NYC plant-based Food, Technology & Marketing organization, co-founded in 2020 and led by digital marketing and technology veteran Ross Glick, former CEO of iNDELIBLE Media. The company aims to help struggling independent restaurant owners everywhere optimize and maximize their untapped kitchen capacity, so they can create more profits for both the independent restaurant owner and VWP. Vegan Warrior Project is helping and aggregating thousands of independent restaurants to create the first nationwide Plant-Based Kitchen Fulfillment Partnership (‘KFP’) Network to support its geographic expansion for its wholly owned vegan delivery brands www.VistroBurger.com & www.PurpleThai.com. Both brands are currently available for delivery in NYC, from its flagship KFP Plant Bar NYC: Nomad.How it works