JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — U.S. consumers have exhibited an increased interest in healthy living since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by Acosta.
Forty percent of today's shoppers buy plant-based meat and/or dairy products, citing health as a key motivating factor, according to "Plant-Based Eating: Trend or Fad?" Acosta's new research report. The report explores consumers' increased interest in purchasing plant-based meat and dairy alternatives
"Consumers' focus on healthy living increased significantly since the onset of COVID-19," said Kathy Risch, senior vice president, business intelligence at Acosta. "Larger conversations about the importance of health and wellness have alerted many consumers to the potential long-term benefits of meat and dairy alternatives, and plant-based product sales are rising as a result.The Plant Based Foods Association reported $7 billion dollars in plant-based sales in 2021, a 27-percent increase from 2019. We expect to see steady growth in this category through the next decade, as consumer awareness continues to expand."
Acosta's research provides insight surrounding consumers' increased interest in plant-based products. According to Acosta's research, 40 percent of consumers surveyed in March 2022 purchased plant-based meat and/or dairy products within the last six months, with more than half of those surveyed (60 percent) purchasing plant-based products several times a month. In addition, 77 percent of consumers surveyed buy plant-based foods at traditional grocery stores, while 20 percent of consumers surveyed buy plant-based foods online. Consumers typically buy plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to replace beef, pork and traditional milk, Acosta concluded.
Acosta also revealed that 64 percent of plant-based buyers purchase within this category at least several times a month, while 57 percent of plant-based buyers say they intend to consume plant-based alternatives throughout their lives. Nearly 20 percent of plant-based buyers say they follow a fully plant-based lifestyle.
The report indicates that while half of plant-based buyers claim it is important for restaurants to offer plant-based options, only about 20 percent usually buy these alternatives when eating out. About one-third of all U.S. shoppers claim to perceive plant-based foods as a fad, despite growing interest and demand.
Acosta's "Plant-Based Eating: Trend or Fad?" report was gathered via online surveys using the company's proprietary Shopper Community from March 8 to 11.
Convenience Store News previously reported that as customers spend more time on-site, c-stores will be expected to make operational changes in order to improve the overall customer experience. Customers are no longer satisfied with quick grab-and-go food options.
This increased demand for healthy, plant-based and international flavor options will also require a larger footprint and dedicated resources. Commissaries and ghost kitchens will become the norm. New store designs with sit-and-eat options will emerge to support the customer experience. Bright, clean and updated store exteriors with outdoor seating options and enhanced curb appeal will also attract customers and encourage them to spend more time on-site.
Jacksonville-based Acosta is an integrated sales and marketing services provider that enables consumer packaged goods brands and retailers to win in the modern marketplace by delivering progressive solutions and exceptional service. With more than 90 years of experience, Acosta understands evolving consumer needs and helps its clients and customers stay a step ahead, fueling their accelerated performance, according to the company.