KANSAS CITY — The U.S. plant-based food and beverage market is now valued at $4.5 billion, growing at five times the rate of total food sales in the past year, according to data from the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute. Six of the top 10 categories raking in sales growth are plant-based dairy alternatives.

“Plant-based foods are a growth engine, significantly outpacing overall grocery sales,” said Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships at the P.B.F.A. “We are now at the tipping point with the rapid expansion of plant-based foods across the entire store, so it is critical for retailers to continue to respond to this demand by offering more variety and maximizing shelf space to further grow total store sales.”

Plant-based sales chartThe leading driver of plant-based sales is the alternative milk category, which has climbed 6% over the past year to represent $1.9 billion and make up 13% of the entire milk category. Meanwhile, cow’s milk sales have declined 3%.

Also on the rise are plant-based ice cream, yogurt, creamer, butter and cheese alternatives. In the past year, plant-based yogurt has grown 39%, while conventional yogurt declined 3%; plant-based cheese has grown 19%, while conventional cheese is flat; and plant-based ice cream and frozen novelty has grown 27%, while conventional ice cream and frozen novelty has grown just 1%.

“Emerging plant-based dairy categories are growing even faster as more households are introduced to other plant-based dairy items,” the P.B.F.A. said. “Across the store, plant-based food sales are growing rapidly, while sales of many conventional animal products stagnate or decline.”

View a slideshow of plant-based dairy alternative innovation.