A new report confirms what anecdotally most of us knew: plant-based foods are dominating. A report—produced for the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association by data research firm SPINS—reveals what animal-product alternatives are leading the way. Looking at the big picture, the report says that U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 11.4% (to $5 billion). And the top three fastest-growing categories were plant-based creamer, yogurt and eggs, which respectively grew 34 percent, 31 percent and 192 percent. 

Vegan Eggs (192% growth)

One of the largest growth categories was “vegan egg,” growing 192% going from $3 million to $10 million in sales. And, if you look at the last two years combined, growth reached a whopping 228%. We can likely thank retailers like JUST Egg for product innovation, availability and reducing cost. JUST has become a household name in just its few years of being on the market, available on the shelves at major retailers and foodservice outlets nationwide. It’s even getting ready to launch a quick and easy omelet starting in April, at over 5,000 retailers across the U.S. JUST uses mung bean protein isolate as its base; one JUST Egg (3 tablespoons is equivalent to one chicken egg) provides 5 grams of plant protein. Follow Your Heart makes a powdered egg substitute, a little more time consuming to make as you need to add it to water and mix, but a good option for baking. And, in the future, look out for a vegan egg that looks and tastes like an actual chick egg—yes, in a full-on shell—but it’s made with legumes.

Creamer (34% growth)

Plant-based milk products continue to top the charts as the largest plant-based food category. According to the SPINS report, sales have grown 5% over the past year to reach $2 billion. The report says this about the breakdown: “Plant-based milk as a category accounts for 40 percent of the total plant-based food market. Almond milk is still the largest plant-based milk type, but oat milk has rapidly burst onto the scene, growing an impressive 686 percent over the past year. Brands are rapidly responding to increasing demand for oat milk, with established brands like Oatly joined by newcomers such as Planet Oat.” The dairy industry is being hit hard as milk-alternatives steal market share. Some are declaring bankruptcy, while others, Elmhurst 1925, are pivoting completely to exclusively produce plant-based milk. There are even companies helping dairy farmers replace their cow operations with plant-based milk crops, like oats. 

The report does single out creamer specifically as a category that saw the 34% growth which makes sense considering American’s daily coffee consumption...that, of course, necessitates a good creamer. Here at The Beet we did a round-up of our favorite plant-based creamers. Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk Creamer (which now also has a delicious oat milk creamer) tops the list. 

Yogurt (31% growth)

Last but not least, the beloved breakfast and go-to snack item: yogurt. The SPINS report says yogurt had more than 31% growth.  Many mainstream dairy yogurt companies have attempted to gain a footing in the non-dairy, plant-food space. Chobani, known for its thick, creamy greek yogurts launched an oat milk yogurt late last year. Dairy yogurt leader Yoplait also got into the vegan yogurt game with its Oui yogurt line. And, dedicated plant-based players like Kite Hill added yogurt to their product lines.  

“Clearly plant-based is a lasting trend that is gaining power over time,” says the Good Food Institute’s associate director of corporate engagement Caroline Bushnell. “From the data, 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 and there is so much product innovation yet to hit the market, well beyond the burger.”

What egg and dairy alternatives are you excited about these days? Drop a comment below and let us know! 

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