New data released by The Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant Based Foods Association shows US retail sales of plant-based foods continued to increase by double digits in 2019, growing 11% and bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion. Dollar sales for the total US retail food market grew just 2% during this same period, showing that plant-based remains a key driver of growth for retailers nationwide. Commissioned from SPINS, a market research firm, this data covers measured channels within the total grocery marketplace.

The value of plant-based meat — the second-largest category — is approaching $1 billion, with sales growth of 18% in 2019. The plant-based meat category is now worth $939 million, having grown over six times faster than conventional meat and accounting for 2% of retail packaged meat sales. According to IRI, 14% of US households now purchase plant-based meat. The refrigerated segment accounts for most of the growth in the plant-based meat category, with new plant-based meat products increasingly shelved adjacent to conventional meat. This placement helped propel the refrigerated segment’s growth of 63% last year by introducing the category to more consumers shopping for center-of-plate protein options. Growth of refrigerated plant-based burgers has been especially robust, with sales up 123% and reaching $283 million in 2019.

Plant-based milk — the largest category — has now surpassed $2 billion and accounts for 40% of the total plant-based food market. Even as the most developed plant-based category, plant-based milk grew 5% in dollar sales and sold 7% faster last year, while cow’s milk sales were flat. Almond milk is the category leader and makes up 65% of dollar sales. Oat milk is the fastest-growing type of plant-based milk, with dollar sales rising a staggering 686% in 2019. Plant-based product share of any given category is increasing, with plant-based milk now making up 14% of the milk category, plant-based butter making up 6% of the butter category, plant-based creamer making up 5% of the creamer category, and plant-based yogurt making up 4% of the yogurt category.

The success of plant-based milk — now purchased by 41% of US households, according to IRI — has laid the groundwork for major increases in other plant-based dairy categories, which are among the fastest-growing. Across the store, plant-based food sales are growing rapidly, while sales of many conventional animal products grow only modestly or even decline. In 2019, plant-based yogurt grew 31%, while conventional yogurt declined 1%; plant-based cheese grew 18%, while conventional cheese grew 1%; and plant-based eggs grew 192%, while conventional eggs declined 10%. 

The data summarized here represents retail sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products, including meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy, as well as meals that contain animal ingredient replacements. Obtained from the SPINSscan Natural, Specialty Gourmet, and Conventional Multi Outlet (powered by IRI) channels, this data pertains to the 52- and 104-week periods ending December 29, 2019.