A study commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute revealed that the plant-based foods market topped $3.1 billion in sales.
Collected by the market research company Nielsen, the data includes sales information from mass merchandisers and grocery, drug, club, dollar, and military stores. The results showed an overall growth in plant-based foods of 8.1 percent from last year.
Some of the highlights from the study include a 20 percent increase in sales of plant-based dairy alternatives, such as vegan cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, which together topped $700 million in sales. The plant-based milk category increased 3.1 percent from last year, whereas sales of cow’s milk dropped about 5 percent.
As for plant-based meat, sales grew 6 percent compared to a year ago, with refrigerated products selling at a higher rate than frozen. Plant-based meat accounted for 2.1 percent of refrigerated and frozen meat products sold at retailers.
Bruce Friedrich, executive director of GFI, discussed the findings:
There is a revolution going on in the plant-based meat space. Right now, the sector is small, but growing, and we are working hard to create a viable market sector. It is especially impressive to see that all the plant-based companies are working cooperatively, because a rising tide will lift all boats.
The rise in veganism isn’t a niche trend, but rather part of a global dietary shift away from animal products.
Over the past decade, veganism has seen consistent growth as millennials—the world’s largest generation—purchase their own food. Concerned about the environment, animal welfare, and their health, this generation boasts more self-identifying vegetarians than any other, according to The New York Times.
NBC reported earlier this year that Google searches for "vegan" increased by 33 percent from 2015 to 2016. This is slightly higher than the increase from 2014 to 2015. And Lux Research expects plant-based proteins to make up a third of the global protein market by 2054.
Fewer people buying meat, dairy, and eggs is great news for the billions of farmed animals who suffer immensely at factory farms.
Cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are just as smart and sensitive as the dogs and cats we adore at home. Yet at factory farms they’re subjected to unimaginable cruelties: extreme confinement, brutal mutilations, and violent deaths.
Sounds horrifying, right? Watch.