The brand – which announced plans to invest a staggering $60 million into its plant-based milk production operation in Virginia in 2017 – started to offer plant-based options in a bid to meet changing consumer demand.
“We need to follow the pockets of growth of where the consumer is,” Mariano Lozano, Danone North America CEO, told Food Dive.
Lozano’s assertion ties in with market data showing that the vegan sector is growing very quickly in the US.
A 2018 dataset from Nielson, commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) showed the plant-based foods industry experienced dollar sales growth of 20 percent between 2017 and 2018, with sales topping $3.3 billion.
Michele Simon, Executive Director of PBFA said increasing consumer in vegan products mean the industry is ‘no longer niche’.
Not just for vegans
She added: “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.”