Unsurprisingly, meat consumers are pretty familiar with plant-based meat alternatives. In May, two-thirds of meat consumers reported knowing of these products and being fairly confident they understand what the term means.1 Two years after making it onto grocery store shelves, plant-based meats now make up 1.2% of volume sales in the meat department and growing.2
“Plant-based meat continues to grow faster than overall meat,” explained Erkin Peksoz, IRI consultant. “In the last year (ending 5/9/2021), volume sales growth outpaced meat’s 18.4% to 0.5%. The primary driver in this category is meat replacements like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat versus classic meat alternatives.”
It is important to note, though, when looking at year-over-year growth of new products that growth will always seem high because fewer stores carried the product and less product was stocked during the origin year.
Today, about 20% of meat consumers eat plant-based meat alternatives once per month or more; an additional 30% have tried it in the past but don’t eat it regularly. This equates to half of meat consumers who have tried plant-based alternatives. Of those, 28% say they will definitely continue to regularly eat plant-based meat alternatives in the future. An additional 37% said they would “probably” continue to eat it.1
Consumer acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives means they’re likely to be sticking around. Most shoppers today know what these products are, but nonetheless, it’s important for retailers to be ready to answer questions on topics like the nutrition and sustainability of these meat-less products.