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E-commerce data signals plant-based is tops in grocery growth

1010data named plant-based foods its category of the year, as it saw 199% annual growth in online sales of meat substitutes, according to its research.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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In 2020, meat substitutes experienced nearly 200% year-over-year online sales growth, according to analysts at 1010data and its report on the plant-based category. The New York-based data company said meat substitutes outpaced all other grocery categories it studied from May 2020 through April 2021.

The meat substitutes rise helped the intelligence company name plant-based products, including non-dairy options and more, as its top category of the year.

The company used its online panel data and more, looking at pre-purchase, point-of-purchase and post-purchase shopping behaviors to breakdown the category in its report titled, “2020 Online Grocery Category of the Year: Plant-Based Foods Spotlight.”.

Some highlights from the report — as given to Store Brands — include pre-purchase search behavior: the report shows a 163% increase in online, pre-purchase search for the term “organic,” compared with 148% for “plant-based,” 99% for “gluten-free” and 88% for “vegan.” 

The report also identified top-performing retail channels in the category, naming and Amazon as leaders, as well as Instacart. Within Instacart, top sales for meat substitutes were at Costco (18% of sales), Publix (165) and Sprouts (10%).

The category spotlight report is an offshoot of the intelligence company’s State of Grocery report that showed all food categories generated positive, year-over-year online sales growth.

For more from the report, access it here.

Plant-based goods have certainly been growing within the private label space, as Target added a plant-based line to its Good & Gather own brand in May, featuring more than 30 products across 10 categories.

Kroger expanded its Simple Truth Plant Based portfolio at the end of 2020, growing from 20 products to 75 and growing. 

Whole Foods discussed plant-based trends for the summer, due to the heat of the category, highlighting alternative cheeses, meat substitutes for the grill and plant-based seafood, to name a few.

“Plant-based is the grocery category to watch right now as brands continue to innovate by using new ingredients and processes that make plant-based products exciting for shoppers,” said Parker Brody, senior global category merchant for plant-based at Whole Foods Market.