Plant-based food products have proven to be resilient under inflationary pressures, according to the 2022 Plant-Based State of the Marketplace summary report from the Plant Based Foods Association. Dollar sales of plant-based food reached $8 billion in 2022, an increase of 6.6% (up from 5.9% in 2021). And its unit sales were in line with the 3% decline seen across all food and beverage products and in animal-based products.
Inflation contributed to dollar sales growth across all food and beverage products last year. The average retail price of animal-based foods increased 15%, which aided the category’s 11% sales growth. Plant-based food achieved its 6.6% growth with a smaller average retail price increase of 10%. In addition, the plant-based dollar and unit market share both held steady at 4.5% in 2022.
By unit sales, plant-based products had notable growth in five categories — creamers, eggs, protein powders, ready-to-drink beverages, and dips and spreads. Meanwhile, unit sales of animal-based products declined in all categories.
Milks and creamers rose sharply, while plant-based meat sales slowed
Last year, plant-based foods made it into more U.S. diets and homes. Seven in 10 Americans consumed plant-based foods, up from 66% in 2021. The plant-based consumer base spanned evenly across age groups and income levels, with 60% of U.S. households buying plant-based foods and 80% of them repeating those purchases.
With a sales growth of 8.5%, plant-based milk reached $2.8 billion in sales in 2022, continuing its reign as the largest segment of the plant-based industry. Four in 10 U.S. households bought plant-based milks last year, with 76% repeating those purchases. It was also a big year for plant-based creamer innovation — the category grew by 24% in dollar sales (reaching $645 million) and 12% in unit sales.
Plant-based meats, which experienced record sales growth of 46% from 2019 to 2020, have leveled off in recent years. The category’s dollar sales totaled $1.4 billion in 2022, a slight decrease of 1.2%, and its unit sales fell by 8.2%. About 18% of households bought plant-based meat in 2022 and most (63%) repeated their purchases.