Vegan Food Sales Topped $3.3 Billion in 2017

The vegan food market has reached $3.3 billion over the past year, representing a 20 percent growth spike, says a new report conducted by leading global sales research company, Nielsen. The report was commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), a trade association that represents 114 of the nation’s top vegan brands.

“The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the PBFA, in a statement. “Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today.”

According to the report, the vegan food market outpaced nonvegan categories across all food departments (including refrigerated, deli, grocery, dairy, meat, produce,  etc…) 10 times over. Last year’s report on vegan food sales showed that the plant-based food market grew by 8 percent last year, showing that the market has more than doubled as of June 2018. The report notes that the data represents plant-based products that directly replace animal-based food such as vegan meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc.

“The new data confirms 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,” Simon continued. “It is important that regulators and legislators treat our industry fairly and the playing field for plant-based foods is level and fair at the state and national levels.”

plant-based food sales by category

Additionally, the report broke down growth in the plant-based food market by category. Vegan “dairy alternatives,” which excludes plant-based milk and includes dairy-free cheese, creamers, butter, yogurt, and ice creams, experienced an explosive 50 percent market growth. Specifically, vegan coffee creamers experienced a 131 percent increase, totally $109 million in sales. Vegan yogurts were next, showing a 55 percent market growth and $162 million in sales and the plant-based cheese market grew by 43 percent to $124 million.

The plant-based milk category is up 9 percent compared to last year’s 3 percent. Additionally, vegan milk sales make up 15 percent of total fluid milk sales while cow’s milk sales dropped by 6 percent.

The plant-based meat category also found favor with consumers, growing by 24 percent compared to last year’s 6 percent. As of this year, the vegan meat market has reached $670 million in sales.

Additional research conducted by Nielsen confirms that the plant-based food categories are poised to continue to inch closer towards market dominance. A report released last June showed that vegan food sales represented 20 percent of all supermarket sales, outpacing non-vegan food in terms of growth.