40% of Shoppers Buy Plant-Based Products

Eating healthy spurs consumers to pick these foods, and over half say this is a long-term choice.

April 21, 2022

Plant Based Burger

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The plant-based craze isn’t diminishing any time soon with plant-based consumer goods sales projected to hit $162 billion by 2030. Plant-based sales totaled $70 billion in 2021, which was a 27% increase versus 2019. According to research from Acosta, a sales and marketing services provider, 40% of shoppers buy plant-based meat and/or dairy products, citing health as their key motivating factor.

Over half of those surveyed by Acosta (60%) said they purchase plant-based products several times a month. Seventy-seven percent of consumers surveyed buy plant-based foods at traditional grocery stores, while 20% of consumers surveyed buy plant-based foods online. Consumers typically buy plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to replace beef, pork and traditional milk.

“Consumers’ focus on healthy living increased significantly since the onset of COVID-19,” said Kathy Risch, senior vice president, business intelligence at Acosta. “Larger conversations about the importance of health and wellness have alerted many consumers to the potential long-term benefits of meat and dairy alternatives, and plant-based product sales are rising as a result. Bloomberg reported $7 billion dollars in plant-based sales in 2021, a 27% increase from 2019. We expect to see steady growth in this category through the next decade, as consumer awareness continues to expand.”

Nearly 20% of plant-based buyers say they follow a fully plant-based lifestyle, and 57% of plant-based buyers say they intend to consume plant-based alternatives throughout their lives. About 33% of all U.S. shoppers say that they perceive plant-based foods as a fad, despite growing interest and demand.

While 50% of plant-based buyers claim it is important for restaurants to offer plant-based options, only about 20% usually buy these alternatives when eating out.

In January, Beyond Meat and PepsiCo’s joint venture The PLANeT Partnership announcing it would launch a plant-based jerky as its first product, while McDonald’s expanded its pilot of the McPlant burger to about 600 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Francisco Bay areas. Fast casuals are introducing more faux meat options this year, including a vegan “chorizo” at Chipotle and plant-based fried “chicken” from Beyond Meat at KFC.

NACS Magazine explored the plant-based trends in “Plant-Based Food Takes Root” in the May 2021 issue.