All Areas of US Realize Double-Digit Growth in Case Shipments of Plant-Based Proteins to Foodservice Operators

CHICAGO – Case shipments of plant-based protein from broadline foodservice distributors to foodservice operators increased by 20 percent in the year ending November 2018 compared to year ago with all Census regions showing double-digit growth, reports The NPD Group. The West Census Region represents the most planted-based volume and case shipment growth followed closely by the South Census region, according to NPD’s SupplyTrack®.

About a quarter of the U.S. population, many of whom aren’t vegan or vegetarian, say that they eat and drink plant-based beverages and foods as well as animal protein on a regular basis. Among the reasons why plant-based proteins have mainstreamed is that consumers, in addition to adding protein to their diets, perceive them as being a “better-for-you” option. There are also plant-based fans who have concerns around animal welfare and they want to know how products are brought to market. These consumers have the belief that plant-based protein provides “clean meat” and eliminates many of these barriers.

Burgers represent the largest plant-based foodservice category and have year-over-year double-digit growth in pounds shipped to foodservice operators, and it’s plant-based burgers that are showing up the most on many restaurant menus. Although plant-based burgers are popular across demographics, an analysis done with NPD’s receipt mining service, Checkout, shows that smaller, more affluent ($100,00 and up) households are the top buyers of plant-based burgers*.    

“Plant-based proteins are no longer just a meat replacement, it’s now its own category,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “It’s possible that protein overall is evolving into a category, whether animal meat, beans, nuts, soy, wild game or other proteins, in forms ranging from beverage to center-of-plate.”

About The NPD Group 
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

About Checkout 
Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – 600+ e-commerce retailers including Amazon, Walmart, top industry specific retailers, direct-to-consumer and emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Rakuten Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

About NPD’s Food Sector 
NPD is the only research company to continuously track and have a full view of what individuals actually eat and drink in- and away-from-home. We are the definitive source of information and insights for all aspects of food and beverage consumption and consumer use of restaurants and foodservice outlets. We can track the same foodservice consumer over time to gain actionable insights. In addition, we track actual sales information on every product shipped from leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators. Follow us on Twitter: @npdfood

*Based on a sample of chains offering branded plant-based burgers