Plant-Based Food Sales Skyrocket as U.S. Consumers Seek Healthier Options

While the data show that plant-based food sales in the United States grew by 90 percent over the same period last year, anecdotal evidence suggests olive oil sales grew with them.
Jun. 3, 2020
Daniel Dawson

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The growth of plant-based food sales has far out­paced total food sales increases in the United States dur­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic, accord­ing to data pub­lished by the Plant Based Foods Association and SPINS, a mar­ket ana­lyt­ics firm.

Demand for olive oil has increased recently. We pre­sume it is due to the increased demand at gro­cery stores due to the Covid-19 cri­sis.- Brady Whitlow, pres­i­dent of Corto Olive

Sales of plant-based foods grew by 90 per­cent through mid-March, com­pared to the same period last year, as Americans flooded super­mar­kets dur­ing a period of panic buy­ing.”

In the four weeks after the peak panic buy­ing period, plant-based food sales grew by 27 per­cent, as con­sumers sought out health­ier eat­ing options than they nor­mally would. Plant-based food sales also grew 35 per­cent more quickly than total food sales in that period, the data show.

Since the begin­ning of the pan­demic, there has been a con­tin­ued shift in con­sumer pur­chas­ing toward nat­ural and organic prod­ucts that enhance health and immu­nity,” SPINS CEO and owner Tony Olson said.

While the impacts of the pan­demic on con­sumer trends have yet to fully man­i­fest them­selves in all sec­tors, anec­do­tal evi­dence shows that olive oil sales in the U.S. have also been boosted by the pan­demic.


Demand for olive oil has increased recently,” Brady Whitlow, the pres­i­dent of Corto Olive, the sec­ond largest olive oil pro­ducer in the U.S., told Olive Oil Times. We pre­sume it is due to the increased demand at gro­cery stores due to the Covid-19 cri­sis.”

The U.S. is not the first coun­try to expe­ri­ence a boost in olive oil sales as a result of Covid-19. Both Greece and Spain saw domes­tic olive oil sales grow at the begin­ning of the pan­demic as well.

In its 2020 agri-food out­look report, the European Union also said that olive oil con­sump­tion in the trad­ing bloc is expected to increase by 5.2 per­cent in the 2019/20 crop year, largely dri­ven by panic buy­ing at the begin­ning of 2020.


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