Editor's note: Kate Good is associate director of communications for the Plant Based Food Association and Institute. She can be reached at kate@plantbasedfoods.org. Catherine Cowan is insights lead on natural and organic brands and plant-based initiatives at 84.51°. She can be reached at catherine.cowan@8451.com.

The plant-based foods industry has experienced exponential growth in the past five years as consumers find more and more innovative options on grocery store shelves. The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) has been at the forefront of measuring plant-based food industry performance and working to better inform plant-based food companies, retailers and the broader food industry about key trends to further advance this burgeoning industry’s growth. While retail sales of plant-based foods are well documented, Julie Emmett, PBFA’s vice president of marketplace development, recognized a gap in research into the plant-based food shopper – more specifically, data that not only looked at spending habits across plant-based categories over time but also captured consumer sentiment and purchase intent to better understand the “why” and predict future trends.

Through strategic partnerships with top retailers, Emmett works to develop research that helps industry players understand the consumers driving the growth. This valuable information allows retailers to be at the cutting edge of merchandising strategies that make it easier for plant-based shoppers to find the products they're looking for and explore the ever-expanding variety and assortment of offerings that align with their personal values and lifestyle choices. In order to effectively implement strategies that meet consumer needs, core questions around how plant-based shoppers behave in the store and whether shoppers that engage with plant-based segments are actively displacing their animal-based purchasing need to be answered. 

To provide the ...