Plant-Based Food Sales Surge In 2023 Despite Predictions Of A Slowdown

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In 2023, a surprising trend emerged among shoppers at Kroger: there has been a nearly 40 percent plant-based food sales surge, reflecting a robust interest in healthier and more sustainable food options.

This data, highlighted in a recent report from the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), challenges the notion of a declining market and underscores a significant consumer shift towards plant-based diets. 

Consumer Insights And Market Growth

PBFA’s data analyst, Linette Kwon, provided insights into the growing popularity of these foods:

After years of product innovation and adapting to consumer interests, values, and taste preferences, the plant-based foods industry has demonstrated its unique ability to iterate and grow.” 

The report details a 79 percent growth in retail dollar sales of plant-based foods from 2018 to 2023, with a notable stability in sales amounting to $8.1 billion in 2023 despite economic headwinds.

Health And Environmental Motivations

The motivations for choosing plant-based options are diverse. A survey conducted in collaboration with Kroger and market research firm 84.51° revealed that 51 percent of respondents are driven by health benefits. 

Additionally, environmental concerns also play a significant role, with 33 percent of the surveyed shoppers citing these reasons for their increased spending. This highlights a dual focus on personal health and ecological welfare that is shaping consumer habits.

Digital Marketplace Expansion

Plant-Based Food Sales

The plant-based sector’s expansion into e-commerce is particularly noteworthy. In 2023, online sales of plant-based foods hit $394 million, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 16.4 percent from 2020.

The convenience and variety offered by online platforms have attracted more consumers, with plant-based products now accounting for 6.8 percent of total online sales, compared to 3.8 percent in brick-and-mortar retail settings.

Consumer Preferences And Trends

Plant-Based Food Sales

The survey also highlighted that over one-third of shoppers appreciate the taste and flavor of plant-based foods, with many consumers increasingly exploring various plant-based options. 

This preference is not only limited to food items traditionally viewed as ‘healthy’ but extends to plant-based creamers, ready-to-drink beverages, and baked goods, which have all seen growth in both dollar and unit sales.

Future Outlook And Sector Innovation

Looking forward, the prospects for plant-based foods continue to be bright. Industry leaders like Rob Morasco, Vice President of Innovation at Sodexo, note the crucial role of plant-based foods in addressing environmental challenges: “The need to find a solution to our environmental challenges is only going to increase.” 

Foodservice operators are responding by significantly increasing their offerings of plant-based foods, with tofu and plant-based milk investments growing by 17.5 percent and 20.9 percent respectively from 2022 to 2023.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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