Plant-based foods are enjoying significant sales increases during the COVID-19 pandemic, an association representing the companies that make the products said Tuesday.

“Retail plant-based food sales, like other retail food sales, experienced a significant spike in mid-March during peak panic buying,” PBFA said. “During this time, plant-based foods were up a whopping 90% when compared to last year’s sales. Throughout the four weeks following peak panic buying, total plant-based foods sales grew at 27%, which is 35% faster than total retail food.”

“This new data shows that consumers are turning to plant-based food options now more than ever,” said Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships at the Plant Based Foods Association. “Even after the highest panic-buying period, plant-based foods growth remains strong, proving that this industry has staying power.”

During the period of “panic buying” in March, plant-based meat retail sales were up 148% more than last year, “spiking at 50% over the peak panic buying of animal-based meat,” PBFA said. “Over the four weeks following, plant-based meat sales continued to grow at a rate of 61%, over twice as fast as animal-based meat, during the same period.”

The data were compiled by SPINS, a “wellness-focused data and market analytics” firm, PBFA said.

Meat sales have also experienced a significant uptick during the pandemic. “The week ending May 10 saw another enormous boost in both dollars and volume,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics in San Antonio, in a report released this month. “Following two weeks that saw sales up around 50% over the same week last year, the week of May 10 came in at +40.6%. Additionally, volume increased 27.8% versus a year ago.”

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