KANSAS CITY — The global vegan food market size is expected to reach $24.3 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% between 2019 and 2026, according to Acumen Research and Consulting.

While only 1% to 2% of the U.S. population claims to be vegan, the explosion of vegan food and beverages falls in line with consumer demand for more plant-based options and an increase in flexitarian eating.

“Vegan food is not only for strict vegans anymore,” said Rachel Ercole, brand marketing manager at Modern Table, which launched a line of vegan macaroni and “cheese” in February. “It’s now spreading to the mainstream, and nothing is more broadly appealing than mac and cheese. Some of our most loyal customers are strictly vegan, but many more think of themselves as flexitarian — looking to eat less meat and dairy.”

View slideshow of new vegan products in 2019.