“Our data shows the plant based meat boom of last year continues and as reports of animal-based meat shortages increase, we can expect plant-based meat to gain even more traction," said Tony Olson, owner and CEO of SPINS.
According to the data, retail sales of plant-based foods were up 90% for the 16 weeks up to April 19, 2020 compared to the same period last year. Following peak panic buying in March (March 8 to March 29, 2020), total plant-based food sales grew 27% -- 35% faster than total retail food sales.
Sales of plant-based meat and cheese
Plant-based meat retail sales were up 148% compared to last year and 50% higher than animal-based meat sales during peak panic buying this year. For the four weeks following peak panic buying, plant-based meat sales grew at a rate of 61% while animal-based meat sales continued to decline over the same period.
PBFA and SPINS noted that refrigerated plant-based meat has led most of the growth, spiking at 241% during panic buying compared to the same time period last year, and grew at 113% over the four weeks following panic buying.
Sales of other plant-based proteins including tofu and tempeh also surged for the 16 weeks up to April 19, 2020 with growth 88% higher than the same period last year.
Plant-based cheese sales were up 95% compared to last year and continued to register 54% sales growth for the four weeks after panic buying settled.
“This new data shows that consumers are turning to plant-based food options now more than ever,” said Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships at PBFA.
“Even after the highest panic-buying period, plant-based foods growth remains strong, proving that this industry has staying power,” she added.