According to the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe), data from NielsenIQ shows that the sales of plant-based food imitating the flesh of terrestrial animals grew to €2 billion in 2022, accounting for 6% of the pre-packaged meat market, while plant-based food imitating the flesh of aquatic animals and cheese categories saw double-digit growth. The countries where this was researched were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

From 2020 to 2022, plant-based meat grew by 21%, while conventional meat sales decreased by 8%. Unit sales of plant-based milk grew by 20% in the same period, while conventional milk unit sales decreased by 9%. Plant-based milks are the most successful vegan products in terms of share of the market and growth, accounting for 11% of the overall milk market, and sales growing by 19% between 2020 and 2022, reaching €2.21 billion in 2022. Sales of plant-based cheese jumped 102% during the same period, reaching €144 million in some countries.

Plant-based food imitating the flesh of sea animals was the fastest-growing category with unit sales expanding by over 300% between 2020 and 2022, but sales were only €43 million in 2022. Sales of plant-based yoghurt grew by 16% during this period, while conventional yoghurt sales decreased by 4%.

The report highlights the impact of inflation on the plant-based food industry, with plant-based cheese prices decreasing by 3% last year, while conventional cheese increased by 12%. Similarly, plant-based milk prices increased by only 1% last year, while conventional milk increased by 17%.

Charlotte Lucas, Senior Corporate Engagement Manager at GFI Europe, said in a statement, “European companies and governments have a critical role to play in supporting consumers to make more sustainable choices.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.