Innovation, Nutrition, New Customers: The Factors Driving Plant-Based Growth
2020 has been a big year for plant-based products. They have been outpacing all food sales during the pandemic. Shoppers new to the category have already shown a tendency to become repeat customers who will to spend extra. Plant-based sales were already on an upward trajectory prior to COVID-19, but that growth accelerated in the first half of this year. The consistently positive performance fo plant-based has proven that it’s not a trend to watch, it’s a category you can’t ignore.
You might be wondering why plant-based stands out in a busy and competitive market. SPINS has been watching this category closely and found these are the key factors driving plant-based’s exciting growth:
When shoppers think of plant-based food, they often go immediately to burger alternatives. That might have been the driver of early meatless diets, but today the options are plentiful. Plant-based brands have created a variety of alternatives to traditional milk (oat and pea), meat (crumbles, nuggets, sausages, roasts), and dairy (cheeses and yogurts). Today’s shopper can incorporate a variety of plant-based options into their diets every time they sit down for a meal or open the refrigerator to grab a drink. As more shoppers explore this category they bring more demand for new products in every aisle.
Shoppers are health conscious, especially during an ongoing health crisis, and plant-based products tap into many of their top concerns. High-protein diets remain popular among several lifestyles (Keto, vegan, organic), and plant-based meat alternatives satisfy that requirement easily. Shoppers trying to watch their sugar intake often find plant-based items are sweetened with natural fruits or low-calorie sweeteners. And as more people move toward clean labels and away from processed foods, they can choose from the many emerging plant-based options from ingredients and formulas new to the category.
The pandemic and competition for groceries during the stock-up phase certainly drove new customers to explore plant-based options out of necessity. What we know, however, is that many of them have converted to regular customers (and many more have the potential to convert in the future). Suddenly, a new wave of shoppers is returning for the products they’ve only recently discovered and even exploring other plant-based products along the way.
Pandemic shoppers aren’t the only customers entering the market. Many people are choosing to either go entirely meatless or reduce their meat consumption by a few meals per week due to sustainability concerns, adopting a flexitarian mindset. These shoppers might have never explored the plant-based aisle before, and now it’s part of their regular shopping trips.
Take the Next Step
Plant-based can’t be ignored as a disruptor in the natural market, and brands can’t afford to ignore the growing demand from shoppers. If you’re a retailer or a brand, SPINS can show you how plant-based is growing, what impacts it is having on different categories and subcategories, and answer any questions, contact us today. Complete the form below, share your questions, and we’ll get you in touch with a SPINS plant-based expert.