Plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs do more than help our hearts; they contribute to a sustainable food system in a retail world shaken by supply chain and inflation challenges. N ot long ago, if someone decided to avoid animal products their options were limited. At a restaurant you could get the pasta without the chicken; you simply avoided the deli and inflation. Despite a challenging economy, U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2% in 2021 over a record year of growth in 2020. The plant-based market now sits at an all-time high, valued at $7.4 billion.
section of the grocery store; you skipped the ice cream. Times have changed. You can now choose from a wide selection of dairy free ice cream flavors and not feel like life’s a compromise. How sweet is that? The last couple of years saw significant challenges for food suppliers and buyers. Nearly every food category was (and is) touched by pandemic implications, supply chain woes, and inflation. Even so, a surprising food category emerged seemingly untouched by market fluctuations and even motivated by consumer preferences. Today’s plant-based food offerings are dynamic and constantly changing, and they are not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. So, what do we mean when we say ‘plant-based foods’? Why are these products surging in sales? Who is buying? The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) defines plant-based as ‘foods made from plants that contain no animal derived ingredients.’ The sustained growth in plant-based food sales this past year illustrates a strong consumer commitment to purchasing foods that taste great and align with their values and are better for personal health, the planet, workers in the supply network, and animals. LOVE (FOR MEAT AND DAIRY ALTERNATIVES) FINDS A WAY In fact, plant-based food retail sales grew three times faster than total food retail sales while conventional protein sales struggled with supply chain disruptions
Plant-based milks are the largest category in this market. The growing assortment of beverages continues to benefit from product innovation combined with expanded merchandising space. Almond milk leads the pack, with oat milk following close behind. Key advancements in ingredient diversification and product development to improve taste, functionality, and nutrition keep sales steady. The Good Food Institute (GFI) Research and Analysis Manager Karen Formanski confirms, “Product
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