Sales of plant-based food through US retail dropped in 2023 in value and volume terms, with meat and seafood alternatives seeing significant declines, new findings show.

Citing insights from SPINS, the Good Food Institute’s (GFI) latest State of the Industry report, shows plant-based food dollar sales dipped 2% in last year, to $8.1bn. Sales volumes were down 9% at 1.8bn.

The dollar sales of meat and seafood alternatives dropped 12% since 2022 and by 13% since 2021, standing at $1.2bn in 2023. Unit sales growth of plant-based meat and seafood were down 19% on 2022 and 26% on 2021 at 215m.

The household penetration rates were also negative or flat in 2023, the report said, with plant-based meat and seafood dropping four percentage points to 15%, showing the “need to reengage consumers”.

Plant-based meals also saw significant declines through US retail, with dollar sales growth hitting $498m in 2023, a 14% dip on 2022 and 15% drop on 2021. Unit sales growth sat at 96m, a 22% drop on 2022 and 28% slump on the year prior.

Milk alternatives claimed the top spot out of all the plant-based categories, with dollar sales growing 1% on 2022 and 9% on 2021. Unit sales, however, fell 8% year-on-year and 10% on 2021.

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When it came to purchase repeat rates for 2023, plant-based milks performed the best, with 79% of consumers buying the product again. Almost half of US households bought the product at least once during the year, the report said.

This was followed by plant-based creamers, which saw 65% of consumers repeating the purchase, and 62% doing the same for meat and seafood alternatives.

Plant-based eggs and cheeses saw the lowest repeat purchase rate, at 48% and 49% respectively.

According to the GFI, retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 51% in the US since 2017, when the think tank’s monitoring of the segment first began.