Plant-based food profits grow
Don’t call it a fad.
Analysts in the food and beverage industry are observing a seismic shift in the popularity of plant-based food.
While rampant inflation presents a curveball to analysts’ forecasts, U.S. consumers have responded enthusiastically to a wide variety of plant-based alternatives, ranging from burgers and sausages to ice cream and fishless filets.
Let’s dive into the meatless mania.
As consumers grow more health and climate-conscious, their eating habits have shifted.
In the past three years, plant-based food sales have grown 54 percent,
according to the Plant Based Foods Association (BPFA). The trade group says that the increase pushes the total plant-based market value to an all-time high of $7.4 billion.
Despite the pandemic, consumers have continued to flock to plant based alternatives, the BPFA says. That resiliency should be encouraging to producers.
“The sustained growth in plant-based food sales this past year illustrates 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,” it wrote.
Cost is consumers’ greatest consideration with food purchases and the
PBFA expects high inflation to hit plant-based producers’ bottom lines.
The price of food and beverages is a larger driver of purchasing decisions than environmental sustainability by a margin of 68% to 39%, per a survey by the International Food Information Council.
Plant-based milk alternatives in the U.S. grew 4 percent in 2021 and hit $2.6 billion in sales — which is roughly 35 percent of the total plant-based food industry. And since 2019, plant-based meat sales have grown by 74 percent
to hit $1.4 billion — about 19 percent of the total plant-based market.
Who's coming along
Major grocery chains aren’t the only places featuring plant-based food options.
Many fast-food chains are starting to offer veggie meat options, including Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Caribou Coffee, Quiznos, KFC, Chipotle, and more.
Investors have been lining up, too. In the first three months of 2020 alone, U.S. plant-based companies raised $741 million to expand their operations,
according to Forbes.
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