- Many customers who purchased plant-based merchandise in 2020 not solely continued to purchase them in 2021 however spent much less on animal-derived merchandise, according to a study from the Plant Based mostly Meals Institute, Kroger and its affiliated information insights agency 84.51°. The research used Kroger shopper information.
- Well being considerations have been the highest motivator for customers switching to plant-based meals, with 54% itemizing it as a motive. Practically half stated they suppose plant-based alternate options are more healthy than their animal-derived counterparts, and 39% stated they just like the style of plant-based alternate options.
- Till 2021, the plant-based class constantly noticed huge year-over-year sales growth. Final yr, gross sales progress was much more gradual. Whereas it’s too early to take a look at 2022 as a complete, class gross sales have change into stagnant, forcing plant-based corporations to take steps, together with widespread layoffs or closures.
This research was revealed at an attention-grabbing time for the plant-based sector. Whereas enterprise was booming in 2020 and slowing down in 2021, this yr has served as a distinction.
However whereas some information shops seem poised to write the plant-based sector’s obituary, there’s nonetheless funding, innovation and gross sales for plant-based, in addition to companies that discover the section essential. And there are nonetheless folks within the section. Based on a research accomplished by Moonshot Collaborative in October, two-thirds of customers had plant-based meals a minimum of as soon as a month within the earlier quarter.
Whereas this report doesn’t deal with the present yr, the research factors the best way to some points which have drawn customers to plant-based — in addition to what might hold them there.
The research appears to be like at shopper purchases for various plant-based classes — milk, cheese, yogurt, frozen meals, frozen meat and refrigerated meat. In 2020, 59% of consumers have been both new to the plant-based class or elevated or maintained their earlier purchases. Final yr, 54% have been in that realm, with almost three in 10 rising the quantity of plant-based merchandise they purchased from the earlier yr. In 2021, greater than a 3rd of customers within the plant-based cheese and yogurt classes have been new to them. Practically a 3rd of plant-based frozen meal and refrigerated meat customers have been new.
Households that spent extra on plant-based merchandise additionally spent much less on their animal-derived counterparts, the research discovered. In 2021, a family that purchased some plant-based merchandise spent a mean of $31 much less year-over-year on conventional meals. And that wasn’t only for people who purchased extra of the alternate options. Individuals who purchased much less plant-based meals in 2021 than in 2020 tended to spend about $42 much less within the plant-based class — however additionally they spent simply over $60 much less on animal-based meals.
The information additionally discovered some tendencies amongst plant-based customers. They are typically extra thinking about comfort, consider they’re much less wholesome and are extra delicate to cost.
A number of the latest initiatives from plant-based corporations goal this type of shopper. Unimaginable Meals not too long ago launched frozen meal bowls, which zeroes in on the comfort meal sector. Plant-based breakfast sandwiches and burritos additionally can be found in grocers’ freezers. Past Meat, which is working to regain gross sales and produce its operations again into the black by the second half of 2023, is zeroing in on its well being message. The corporate not too long ago partnered with the American Cancer Society to advance analysis on whether or not plant-based meat can play a task in most cancers prevention.
The one space that plant-based may need issues is with wooing price-sensitive customers. With inflation hitting a four-decade high earlier this yr and consumers paying more throughout the grocery retailer, many plant-based merchandise nonetheless are premium priced. Analysts looking to buy patterns have proven customers shopping for cheaper meats and merchandise, placing plant-based in an even tighter spot.