PBFA: Plant-based sales slid in 2023, but ‘with ample space & signage’ units, dollars increase

According to PBFA’s latest ‘Plant-Based Foods State of the Marketplace,’ ​published this week, sales of plant-based foods fell 2.2% to $8.1b in 2023 compared to $8.2b the prior year. On a two-year stack, sales were up 3.8%, reflecting a 2% compound annual growth rate that takes into account a 5.9% increase in sales between 2021 and 2022.  

The drop in sales comes even though prices were up across categories – a formula that in prior years buoyed sales while sacrificing volume. After several years of absorbing higher prices, however, many consumers began to pull back this year – either spending less or continuing to buy less with the same amount as prior years. Deal hunting also increased among price-sensitive shoppers, many of whom sought lower priced products even if it meant trading down.

Against this backdrop, the average retail price of plant-based products increased more quickly than their animal-based counterparts in butter, eggs, meat and milk, but more slowly in the creamer, ice cream and yogurt categories. Price hikes for cheese and non-dairy cheese were even, according to PBFA.

The report found prices for plant-based butter surged about 11% compared to 9% for its animal-counterpart, while prices for eggs increased about 9% vs. 7%, plant-based meat about 10% vs. 3% for animal-based meat and prices for non-dairy milk climbed about 9% vs. 1% for dairy milk.

Alternatively, prices for animal-based creamer spiked twice as much as plant-based creamer at about 12% vs. 6%, and twice as much for ice cream at about 10% for dairy-based ice cream and 5% for plant-based alternatives. Animal-based yogurt increased about 12% compared to a 9% increase in prices for plant-based options.