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Sales of refrigerated vegan burgers surged by 123 percent in 2019, according to sales data.

The data was released by the Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant Based Foods Association, as part of an annual report showing the growth of the plant-based sector.

The sector as a whole is now worth around $5 billion in the US, with plant-milk the biggest category, surpassing $2 billion. Plant-based meat is the second-largest category, approaching the $1 billion mark.

Vegan meat

Overall, the vegan meat sector saw dollar sales growth of 18 percent in 2019, taking it to a total value of $939 million.

In addition, the sector outpaced sales growth of traditional meat sales sixfold, now accounting for two percent of retail packaged meat sales.

Refrigerated plant-based burgers showed extremely robust growth within the category. The growing placement of these options next to traditional meat has been cited as one factor behind the growth.

The dollar sales growth of plant-based food outpaced traditional grocery growth in 2019 

‘Further acceleration’

The Good Food Institute expects to see further acceleration in 2020. According to its associate director of corporate engagement, Caroline Bushnell, says we are at a ‘tipping point’, with ‘so much product innovation yet to hit the market’.

“Clearly plant-based is a lasting trend that is gaining power over time,” she added. “We see a steady rise in plant-based products year over year across regions, which indicates that this is not a bubble or a fad, but a real change in consumer behavior. This is a tipping point, with so much product innovation yet to hit the market.

“Shifting consumer values have created a favorable market for plant-based foods, which have significantly outpaced overall grocery sales increases for three years running, making plant-based foods a growth engine for both manufacturers and retailers.

“This is really only the beginning: plant-based foods will continue to expand rapidly across the store in response to demand as consumers increasingly switch to foods that match their changing values and desire for more sustainable options.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.