The plant-based sector is now ‘fully mainstream’, according to a leading business and food expert.
Michele Simon is the Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). She says increasing consumer in vegan products mean the industry is ‘no longer niche’.
Data from Nielson, commissioned by the PBFA), shows the plant-based foods industry has experienced dollar sales growth of 20 percent over the last year with sales topping $3.3 billion.
Talking about the data, Simon said: “The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream.
“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.
“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 is not the only high-profile figure asserting the significance of veganism’s growth within consumer trends. At the end of 2017, Derek Sarno – Tesco’s Head of Plant Based Innovation – predicted that 2018 would see major change.
He said: “There is a lot of stuff coming – it’s super exciting. It’s unavoidable, it’s just going to happen – whether you’re in the way and get run over, or are part of the ride.
“This next year – 2018 – is our year. It’s the year we go mainstream.”
This is also backed by consumer data from the UK: a Kantar report from January claimed ‘plant-based diets have hit the mainstream’.
Media Communications Manager Claire Wotherspoon said: “Insight from the Kantar Worldpanel Usage panel shows that consumers are already increasingly choosing to eat meat-free dinners, potentially making the jump to veganism less daunting.
“29 percent of our evening meals are veggie, and this has grown consistently over the past few years. The biggest spike has been over the past year, during which we ate an additional 200m meat-free evening meals.”