The rise of plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy at retail

In 2022, more than 450 plant-based products hit U.S. retail shelves. Plant-based foods provide an opportunity for retailers to attract high-value consumers.

High-value consumers

Shoppers purchasing plant-based products spend 61% more than the average shopper, according to SPINS data. Retailers will want to provide an array of great-tasting plant-based products to keep these valuable customers in their stores. This will also attract new customers looking for a broad selection of products. No retailer wants to lose these high-value consumers to competitors who have better plant-based assortments. 

Target consumers: omnivores and flexitarians

Mainstream consumer segments—traditional meat eaters and flexitarians—are seeking more plant-based products. 98 percent of those who purchase plant-based meat in America also purchase meat products. And 39% of Americans are actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. Meanwhile, 60% of consumers want to reduce their meat consumption

For more about target consumer groups—from the demographics of early adopters like flexitarians, Millennials, and Gen Z to mainstream consumers—please see our consumer insights resources.

Product assortment & private label product development

Retailers who want to capitalize on plant-based products can start by stocking a wide assortment of plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products across categories. Retailers can also consider developing compelling private-label products, prioritized by the size, growth, and household penetration of the respective plant-based and animal-based categories. Furthermore, retailers can give customers a chance to sample professionally prepared plant-based products by adding them to foodservice offerings and prepared foods.

Download our Good Food Retail Report to see our 2020 benchmarking of the top 15 U.S. retailers on their product offerings across plant-based meat, egg, and dairy categories, including own-brand products. 

Merchandising tactics and the future of the meat department

By merchandising plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy alongside their conventional counterparts, retailers can make plant-based options more accessible to the many shoppers who purchase both plant-based and conventional meat. Along with shelf tags, retailers can also leverage “plant-based” aisle signage to communicate store location and product features to customers. Finally, retailers can showcase plant-based categories in endcaps and special displays, especially alongside analogous animal products.

View our guide on how to increase sales with effective merchandising tactics.

Marketing and promotions strategies

Retailers can successfully market plant-based proteins by upping the indulgence factor and featuring tasty plant-based options as alternatives to animal-based options. Retailers can appeal to more customers by using inclusive terms, such as “plant-based” and “plant-protein,” instead of limiting identity-based terms, such as “vegan” or “vegetarian.” Retailers can leverage existing wellness and nutrition programs, as well as seasonal campaigns, and offer an in-store demo program to increase category exposure. New cross-category plant-based themed promotions are another great way to appeal to customers.

Learn more about marketing and promoting plant-based foods.

Activity from major food industry players

Large meat and food companies are taking notice of plant-based products’ consumer and supply chain benefits. Every one of the top five consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies and top five meat companies (by revenue) in the U.S. is involved in the plant-based industry through either investment, acquisition, partnership, or product line.

Good food retail report cover image

Good Food Retail Report 2020

Learn plant-based sales strategies and see how the top 15 U.S. grocery retailers rate on their plant-based assortment, merchandising, and marketing.

Strategies and analysis

From retail sales data to consumer research to marketing and merchandising guides, GFI’s resources showcase strategies and case studies in leveraging plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products to grow category and total store sales. 

Grocery store scene with a person holding a shopping basket while browsing the refrigerated section

Merchandising plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy at retail

Discover the best practices in retail merchandising, aisle signage, and shelf tags for plant-based meat, egg, and dairy.

Assorted plant-based and cow-based dairy products in a supermarket display

Marketing and promoting plant-based proteins

This quick guide offers evidence-based marketing and promotion strategies to increase plant-based sales at retail.

Close up of a grocery cart being pushed down an aisle

Consumer insights

Understand consumers, demographics, adoption, motivations, category descriptors, and opportunities for future research in alternative proteins.

A shopper compares plant-based meat products in a supermarket aisle

Alternative protein company database

Explore the landscape of plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation companies including consumer brands, manufacturers, and ingredients companies.

The cover of the 2023 state of the industry report on plant-based meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy by the good food institute

State of the Industry Report: Plant-based meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy

This report details the commercial landscape, sales, investments, innovation trends, regulatory developments, and public funding in the plant-based meat, seafood, egg, and dairy industry.

Watch our on-demand webinar on merchandising and marketing strategies for increasing plant-based food sales at grocery stores.

Retail strategies webinar

Watch GFI’s Plant-Based Strategies for Retail webinar for a closer look at which marketing and merchandising strategies are winning, with a special guest from Whole Foods Market. 

Schedule a meeting with our retail experts

GFI’s Corporate Engagement team serves as a valuable partner, providing no-cost advising to retailers. We have advised top U.S. retailers on strategies for product assortment, private label development, merchandising, and marketing. 

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Category-level trends & analysis
  • Key product whitespaces
  • Private-label innovation and R&D support
  • Merchandising & shelving tactics
  • Marketing and promotions guidance
  • Shopper marketing program development
  • Consumer research and insights

We can work under NDA for complete confidentiality.

Our experts

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Caroline bushnell

Caroline Bushnell


Caroline Bushnell leads GFI’s Corporate Engagement team in their work with companies and investors around the world to accelerate the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: food industry, alternative protein ecosystem, market trends, consumer insights, CPG marketing, emerging industry opportunities.

Image of emma ignaszewski

Emma Ignaszewski


Emma Ignaszewski oversees the corporate engagement team’s industry intelligence and initiatives team. We work to catalyze market-side innovation to transform the food system and deliver alternative protein products that compete on the key drivers of consumer choice: taste, price, and convenience.

Areas of expertise: alternative protein market landscape, research & analysis, strategy, marketing & communications, alt protein sustainability & climate impacts.