Product Focus: Plant-Based Foods

Nov. 28, 2021
As plant-based products continue to gain in popularity among consumers, so too do the many options food processors have to bring new products to market.

Retail sales of plant-based foods in the U.S. increased by double digits in 2020, growing 27% and bringing the total plant-based market value to $7 billion, according to research from the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI). This growth was consistent across the nation, with more than 25% growth in every U.S. census region.

The plant-based food market grew almost twice as fast as the total U.S. retail food market, which increased 15% in 2020 as COVID-19 shuttered restaurants and consumers stocked up on food amid lockdowns. 57 percent of households now purchase plant-based foods, up from 53% in 2019. GFI and PBFA commissioned the data from Spins and custom refined the data to reflect only plant-based products that directly replace animal-based products.

Plant-based milk—the largest plant-based category—reached $2.5 billion and accounts for 35% of the total plant-based food market. Even as the most developed category, plant-based milk grew 20% in dollar sales, up from 5% in 2019. Plant-based milk grew twice as fast as cow’s milk and is now purchased by 39% of U.S. households.

The second largest category, plant-based meat, hit $1.4 billion in 2020, with sales growing 45%, up from $962 million in 2019. It accounts for 2.7% of retail packaged meat sales. Eighteen percent of U.S. households now purchase plant-based meat, up from 14% in 2019, and consumers are coming back for more, with 63% of shoppers being high-repeat customers.

Shelf-stable Meatless Crumbles

Plant Boss is an organic, shelf-stable meat alternative based on pea protein made from yellow peas grown in North America. The dried crumbles are an excellent source of protein, 15-18g per serving, depending on flavor, and low in fat. There are currently five varieties: All-Purpose (includes organic onion, paprika and black pepper), Mild Taco, Pico De Gallo Taco, Southwest Taco and Unseasoned. All are soy free, non-GMO and gluten free. The crumbles come in packages that are the equivalent of 1lb. when prepared with a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Seasonal Nog and Creamers

OatNog is one of the newest offerings from Elmhurst 1925. This limited-edition plant-based beverage is making its debut with two seasonal plant-based creamers: Caramel Macchiato and Pumpkin Spice. Another new edition to Elmhurst’s lineup is Pistachio Crème Creamer, which is made from oats and hemp and blended with real pistachios for an indulgent flavor reminiscent of melted pistachio ice cream. OatNog is made with a blend of cashews, oats and traditional nog spices. All products are made using a water-based process without added gums or emulsifiers.

No-Gelatin Gummies

Most gummies in the marketplace have historically been made with gelatin, an animal-derived ingredient. New GummiShot Energy Gummies are made with pectin; however, they do not sport a vegan claim. They do focus on being plant-based, with the emphasis on the natural caffeine sourced from green coffee beans, which are also high in antioxidants. The gummies are made with real fruit and come in elderberry, orange and tropical flavors. They are sold in single-serve packs of three gummies, with a serving containing 50 calories and 225mg of caffeine.

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