KANSAS CITY — Retail sales of plant-based foods topped $3.3 billion in 2018, according to Nielsen data commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association. Dollar sales grew 20% in the segment, compared with a mere 2% growth in all foods sold in the same channel.
“The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association. “Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today.”
To meet this growing demand for plant-based products, consumer packaged goods manufacturers are innovating with ingredients such as coconut cream, avocado oil and almonds to craft alternatives to ice cream, butter, horchata and more.
Plant-based desserts are part of Dean Foods Co.’s plan to reinvigorate its Steve’s Ice Cream brand. Two years after acquiring the company in 2017, Dean Foods has given the brand a new visual identity and campaign. Additionally, Dean added four new dairy-free frozen dessert varieties to the Steve’s Ice Cream portfolio. Made with organic coconut cream the frozen dessert flavors include Moroccan Mash Up, Passion Carnivale, Cold-Brewed Cinnamon Coffee and Chocolate Cherry Blossom.
Avocado, olives and almonds serve as the plant base in Upfield’s new Country Crock Plant Butter. Stick varieties include plant butter made with almond oil, olive oil and avocado oil, and tub varieties include plant butter made with olive oil and almond oil.
Offering a plant-based spin on a traditional Latin American beverage, Blue Diamond is introducing Almond Breeze Almondmilk Horchata. Made with California-grown almonds and hints of cinnamon and vanilla, the dairy-free drink contains 110 calories per serving and is Non-GMO Project verified.
Dairy-free beverage maker Mooala is moving into the coffee creamer category with a new line of organic plant-based creamers. All varieties contain zero sugar and are U.S.D.A. certified organic. The vanilla bean flavor is made with almonds and coconut cream; the banana nut flavor is made with almonds, coconut cream and banana puree; and the Oats ‘n’ Crème flavor is made with oats, almonds and coconut cream.
Good Planet Foods is adding a cheddar flavor to its line of plant-based shredded cheese alternatives. New Cheddar Flavor Shredded Cheese is made from refined coconut oil and plant starches, including potato and tapioca. Free from dairy, nuts, soy, eggs and wheat, the product is certified gluten-free, vegan, allergen-free, kosher, halal and Non-GMO Project verified.
“Our plant-based cheeses melt easily and taste delicious,” said David Israel, chief executive officer of Good Planet Foods. “The new shredded cheddar is great in countless recipes where a person wants a traditional cheese flavor and texture, but no dairy. We’re proud of our products and of our mission to help reduce food’s environmental impact.”