Plant-based product sales increase an incredible 20 percent

A new Nielsen study finds plant-based product sales are growing across all categories. Get the numbers and learn about two standout categories below.

Jenna Blumenfeld, Freelancer

July 31, 2018

2 Min Read
Plant-based product sales increase an incredible 20 percent

If you need even more proof that plant-based eating is here to stay, a new study conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association found that sales of plant-based foods grew by an incredible 20 percent in the 52 weeks ending June 16, 2018, reaching a total of $3.3 billion. With total food sales growing at just 2 percent, the data depicts a picture in which plant-based products are no longer just a niche market.


“The new data confirm what we are hearing and seeing every day from our members: sales are up, investment is increasing and new jobs are being created in the plant-based foods industry,” Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, said in a statement.

Nondairy milk continues to be a leading category, representing $1.6 billion at 9 percent growth—up 3 percent from the previous year. The meat alternative category, which excludes tofu and tempeh, grew an impressive 24 percent to $670 million—good news for the slew of high-profile food-tech brands such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger that are attempting to cull customers who want to experiment with plant-based eating but who aren’t necessarily vegan. Nielsen reports that animal meat sales grew just 2 percent in the 52 weeks ending June 2018.

Why the rise in plant-based sales? According to Jaime Athos, president and CEO of the legacy plant-based alternative company Tofurky, while readily accessible access to information about the health, environmental and moral downfalls of eating meat has contributed to more people experimenting with plant-based eating, it is the sheer existence of high-quality alternatives that pushes the category forward.

“The quality and broad availability of plant-based foods has really been the turning point,” he says. “Consumers are showing us that if they are presented with the option to choose healthier and more ethically produced plant-based foods without sacrificing taste, they will jump at it.”

About the Author(s)

Jenna Blumenfeld


Jenna Blumenfeld lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she reports on the natural products industry, sustainable agriculture, and all things plant based. 

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