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Plant-Based Foods Becoming More Mainstream

Plant-Based Foods Are One of the Fastest-Growing Food Trends

Production line can packaging of asparagus.

here always seems to be a trend everyone is following when it comes to new foods.  Social media has driven this fever and now more opportunities exist to try the latest trendy foods capturing the attention of pop culture.  Some of these trendy foods, however, have been shown to solve numerous health, lifestyle, and nutritional problems. Plant-based foods have answered the call and have provided tasty options for persons who want alternatives for their lifestyles such as vegan and vegetarian as well as the need for a change in diet due to various health concerns such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

What are Plant-Based Foods?

Plant-based food is food that contain no animal products or bi-products. These foods are made with ingredients made from plants such as vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, seeds, and legumes. As reported in Forbes:

Plant-based eating is one of the top trends driving the food and beverage industry. With a third of the population actively reducing their meat consumption, the demand for plant-based products is rapidly growing.

Categories of Plant-Based Foods

Even though plant-based foods can be categorized as trendy food, it appears to be establishing a stronghold in the food industry that will only grow.  This is evidenced by the fact that plant-based food sales have risen from $4.8 billion in 2018 to $7.4 billion in 2021.   In recent years, continuing disruptions of the food supply brought on by the pandemic have caused adaptation of consumer thinking.  Plant-based foods are becoming a lasting staple in the American diet because of the interest consumers have begun to formulate dietary values including sustainability, reliability, and social justice.  Plant-based food companies have a wide range of foods that will fit into almost every diet:

  • Meat:  Most plant-based meats are made of plant-based ingredients such as pea protein or soy, vegetables, spices, and other natural flavorings.  The newest plant-based meats have been developed to taste, look, and cook just like ordinary meat.  Over 19% of consumers bought plant-based meat in 2021 and 64% of those consumers purchased it multiple times in that same year.
  • Milk:  Visit a grocery store or coffee shop and you will be surprised by all of the choices of plant-based milk.  The choices include oat, macadamia, almond, hemp, soy, banana, pistachio, coconut, and the latest effort, potato milk.  The many benefits of plant-based milk are the fact that most are low in fat, rich in minerals, and easily digestible.  In 2021, plant-based milk sales rose 4% while animal milk sales fell 2%.
  • Dairy Products:  Dairy products such as creamer, ice cream, yogurt, ready-to-drink beverages, butter, dip, sour cream, and cheese are present in many grocery stores and restaurants.  These plant-based products have provided people with a tasty and creamy alternative to the animal milk they are trying to avoid.  Plant-based dairy is one of the products whose sales are rising.  Plant-based yogurt sales have grown almost seven times the rate as that of its animal milk-based counterpart and plant-based cheese sales were up 42% in 2020, almost double that of milk-based cheese.

Projected and Current Revenues

In 2021, the global plant-based food market was estimated to be worth $40.21 billion. Those numbers are expected to reach $78.95 billion by 2028 and are projected to hit $162 billion in the next decade.  On the basis of region, Asia Pacific is projected to dominate the worldwide Plant Based Food market.

Big Sellers in Plant-Based Products

Beyond Meat is the biggest seller of plant-based products with over $100.7 million in revenue at the end of 2021, followed by Oatly milk, making a jump in revenue of 40.3 to $47 million in the first quarter of 2022.  Other plant-based products that are rated as popular sellers are Just Egg, Quorn meat alternative, Follow Your Heart (vegan mayo), All Plants, and Hippeas.  These products present a wide array of options for people across all walks of life who want to eat well but also want to maintain or move towards a plant based diet.  

Convenience Store Leaders of Plant-Based Foods

C-stores have also begun to provide healthy options and alternatives for customers.  QuikTrip, one of the most popular c-store chains in America, has dedicated itself to providing vegan and plant-based options in order to better serve all customers.  The c-store chain, Sheetz, is the first convenience store to sell Beyond Burger, the meatless hamburger alternative.  Hangry Planet is the first 100-percent plant-based, cruelty-free convenience store.  They offer snacks, meals, certified organic desserts, and other ready-to-eat foods and have taken precautions to ensure every product is sustainable, animal-free, and cruelty-free.  They sell vegan protein bars, chips, hummus, nuts, cookies, and other snacks.

April 28, 2023