From pea-protein burgers to cashew milk, a revolution in plant-based eating has arrived. No longer just for dietary nonconformists, the trend has gone mainstream as Americans realize that a plant-centric diet is not just better for their own health but also more ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Nielsen data suggests that nearly 40% of Americans are trying to incorporate more plant foods into their diet,1 and prompting triple digit growth in conventional and natural retail channels. The Plant Based Foods Association predicts the category will reach $5 billion by 2020.2
Going well beyond its strict vegan/vegetarian roots, the steady growth of plant-based foods over the years is due in part to consumers embracing a more flexible approach, incorporating more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables in their diets, but occasionally still indulging in meat or dairy.
It helps that innovations with ingredients like cashews, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and the humble chickpea are producing a variety of fun and healthier alternatives that closely mimic the taste and texture of meat and dairy products in categories ranging from frozen meals and snacks, jerky to shelf stable soups. In particular, alternative meats and dairy are booming. More than half of consumers now say they purchase non-dairy milk, with 64% noting they drink almond milk, a category expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2022. Plant-based meats are especially in vogue at $670 million in 2018 on 24% growth.2
If you aren’t yet on the plant-powered wagon, it’s time to embrace your inner plant person.
1. Nielsen Data: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/plant-based-proteins-are-gaining-dollar-share-among-north-americans.html
2. Plant Based Foods Association https://plantbasedfoods.org/why-plant-based/