Plant-Based Meat Boomed. Here Comes the Bust

Sales of vegan meat are trending downward in the US, with companies scrambling to win back customers.

Over the past three years, the plant-based meat industry has experienced a major reversal in vibes. Sales boomed in the early months of the pandemic, as slaughterhouse shutdowns disrupted conventional meat supply chains and shoppers started trying out meatless burgers, sausages, and seafood instead. Between 2018 and 2021, total sales of plant-based foods in the US grew from $4.8 billion to $7.4 billion, with much of that growth driven by plant-based meat in particular.

But a new report on sales of vegan meat, dairy, and seafood suggests that enthusiasm for plant-based products might be slowing down. An annual report from the Good Food Institute, an alternative protein nonprofit, found that dollar sales of plant-based meat and seafood in the US fell by 13 percent over the past two years. As prices of meat alternatives have gone up, this masks a much greater drop in unit sales over the same time period—they fell by 26 percent between 2021 and 2023.

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