Europe’s plant-based food sales up 22% since 2020 as category hits €5.7 billion market value
Plant-based food sales across Europe have grown by 22% between 2020-2022, with the category reaching a €5.7 billion market value during the period, a new Good Food Institute (GFI) Europe report reveals.
The report analysed data from NielsenIQ on plant-based food sales in 13 European countries including, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.
According to the figures, sales of plant-based goods reached a value of €2 billion in 2022, and made up 6% of the overall pre-packed meat market in Europe.
Within the plant-based meat category, unit sales grew by 21% between 2020 and 2022, in comparison to traditional meat unit sales which went down by 8% during the same period.
Plant-based milk, meat and yoghurt had the largest sales value in 2022, hitting €2.2bn, €2.0bn and €467M respectively.
Between 2020 and 2022, plant-based cheese and seafood saw the most impressive sales growth, with the former reaching 102% and the latter 326%. Plant-based cheese unit sales also grew by 153% in this period while conventional cheese unit sales went down by 4%.
Plant-based milk was found to be the most developed category, having a 11% market share of the total milk category, according to the report.
Unit sales of the product also grew 20% between 2020 and 2022, while these went down by 9% for traditional milk. Oat milk is currently leading sales in the category, the report adds, followed by soy and almond milk.
According to the study, plant-based products were generally less affected by inflation. Plant-based meat prices only increased by 1% in 2022, in comparison to conventional meat prices which shot up by 11%, and plant-based milk prices also only went up by 1% in comparison to the 17% increase in conventional milks prices. While the price of dairy cheeses rose by 12%, plant-based cheese prices actually decreased by 4%.
Despite the enormous growth of plant-based seafood, it was found to be the least developed out of all the categories, seeing sales of just €43 million last year.
While positive advancement within the sector is clear, GFI Europe has called for more public and private investment in research and infrastructure to help companies advance production and ultimately reduce prices of plant-based foods.
Carlotte Lucas, Senior Corporate Engagement Manager at GFI Europe, said: “These figures show Europe’s appetite for plant-based foods is continuing to grow – but these sustainable options still represent a tiny proportion of the market.
“European companies and governments have a critical role to play in supporting consumers to make more sustainable choices. Companies must continue investing in product innovation to develop delicious and affordable plant-based options. And governments must invest in the research and infrastructure we need to reduce prices and improve the quality of plant-based options, in order to deliver on their climate targets and enhance food security.”