Plant-based Cheese Market - Market Size and Growth
According to Nielsen's research conducted on behalf of PlantBasedFoods, the U.S. market size for plant-based cheese was worth $124 million in 2018. Although there is no publicly available source that projects the CAGR for the U.S. plant-based cheese market, Gordon Brothers consultants estimate the growth of non-dairy products in the U.S. will be between 10% and 15% through 2020. The global CAGR for plant-based cheese is expected to be 8.6% through 2028, which represents the minimum growth estimate for the U.S. plant-based cheese market.
U.S. MARKET SIZE OF PLANT-BASED CHEESE
- In 2018, the plant-based cheese market in the U.S. was worth $124 million.
- The entire plant-based food market in the U.S. was worth $3.3 billion in 2018
- Therefore, plant-based cheese represents 4% of the entire U.S. plant-based food market.
- The plant-based dairy market segment in the U.S. was worth $697 million in 2018.
- Therefore, plant-based cheese represents 18% of the plant-based dairy market segment.
GROWTH OF PLANT-BASED CHEESE IN THE U.S.
- The plant-based cheese market jumped 43% in between 2017 and 2018, outpacing all other plant-based dairy products except plant-based creamers (131%) and plant-based yogurts (55%).
- According to Gordon Brothers, a global consulting company, in the U.S., non-dairy products, of which plant-based cheeses are a part, were expected to grow at a CAGR of between 10% and 15% between 2016 and 2020.
- Globally, the plant-based cheese market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% through 2028.
- Since North America currently "holds the major share in terms of market value in the global plant-based cheese market" and the fact that the U.S. is the "largest producer of plant-based cheese across the region," it is assumed that the growth rate for plant-based cheeses will out pace the global market and fall somewhere between the expected 10% and 15% projected by Gordon Brothers.
- Increasing concerns over the environment, human health, and animal welfare are partially responsible for the growth of the plant-based cheese market in the U.S.
- In the U.S., there is a major trend toward healthy lifestyles, which is fueling the change from animal-based cheese to plant-based cheese.
- Americans are becoming more aware of plant-based alternatives to traditional cheese through social media, promotional campaigns, and industry advertisements.
- The only hindrance to the growth of the plant-based cheese market is the "soaring cost of vegan cheese alternatives."
RELEVANT MARKET NEWS
- In November 2018, Norseland introduced its Applewood Vegan product, a vegan smoked cheese product made from coconut and "fortified with vitamin b12 and calcium."
- Dairy-free manufacturers have partnered with medical and healthcare advisers to develop consumer awareness campaigns centered on plant-based cheese products to "assist those in selecting healthier products and helping lactose intolerant in shifting to dairy alternatives."
- Many leading fast food chains, including McDonald's and Domino's Pizza, have added vegan cheese options to their menus in an effort to tap into the growing market.
- North America and Western Europe are the most lucrative markets for plant-based cheese because of the popularity of ready-to-eat snacks.
- In 2018, soy-based cheese held the largest market share of the global plant-based cheese market.
To find the current market size and projected growth rate (CAGR) of the U.S. plant-based cheese market, we began with formal market research studies and quickly found the most recent one from Nielsen, which was conducted on behalf of PlantBasedFoods. This gave a very straightforward response to the market size for plant-based cheese in the U.S. because the report broke down the revenues for each plant-based segment. We also learned from this report that plant-based cheeses had grown by 43% between 2017 and 2018, but the study did not reveal a projected CAGR.
Therefore, we continued our research for the projected growth rate by examining other market research studies from companies like Persistance Market Research, Transparency Market Research, Mordor Intelligence, and MarketWatch, among others, but all reports were for the global market and did not make the U.S. CAGR publicly available. We did find that the global CAGR for the plant-based cheese market is expected to be 8.6% through 2028 and that North America is a lucrative market. Later, we also found that North America holds the largest share of the global plant-based cheese market and that the U.S. is the largest producer of plant-based cheese in the region. The combination of this information indicated to us that the U.S. CAGR would likely be higher than the global average.
We continued our search through non-dairy industry publications and websites such as FoodNewsfeed, PlantBasedNews, VegNews, FoodNavigator-USA and even through dairy industry publications like the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, CheeseMarketNews, the USDA. Our assumption here was that non-dairy industry publications would want to tout the growth of plant-based cheese, while the dairy industry would mention the growth as a threat. Unfortunately, even though we came across numerous articles and reports in these publications, we only found references to the global data we had already discovered.
We switched tactics again and began looking for older reports that might contain future projections for the plant-based cheese segment that would cover years beyond 2019. This was somewhat successful as we found a report from Gordon Brothers, a consulting company, that mentioned the U.S. market for non-dairy products was estimated to grow between 10% and 15% through 2020. Unfortunately, Gordon Brothers does not indicate where these numbers came from, so we were unable to provide the primary source. In addition, the data is not for the exact market segment we wanted, but due to the lack of publicly available data, we included this estimate as a point of reference. Despite searching through earlier versions of all the above-mentioned research reports and industry publications, we were still unable to find a better estimate.
Therefore, using the global CAGR, the fact that North America holds the major share of the global plant-based cheese market, and the Gordon Brothers projection of a 10%-to-15% growth rate of non-dairy products in the U.S. through 2020, we assumed the CAGR for plant-based cheeses in the U.S. will grow at a minimum of 8.6% and a maximum of 15% through 2028.
Calculations for the market share of the plant-based cheese segment are below.
Plant-based cheese market size in the U.S.: $124 million.
Entire plant-based food market in the U.S. was worth $3.3 billion in 2018
The plant-based cheese segment represents 4% of the entire U.S. plant-based food market ($124,000,000 / $3,300,000,000).
Plant-based dairy market segment market size in the U.S.: $697 million
The plant-based cheese segment represents 18% of the plant-based dairy market segment ($124,000,000 / $697,000,000).