The Plant Based Foods Association, San Francisco, released new data from SPINS, a Chicago-based retail sales data company for the natural and specialty products industry, showing the total market for the plant-based sector (excluding data from Whole Foods Market) topping $5 billion in sales.

“The steady growth of the plant-based foods industry shows that consumers continue to shift away from animal products towards plant-based options,” says Michele Simon, executive director.

The analysis showed plant-based milk sales leading the way, topping $4.2 billion over the past year, with 13.1% growth for refrigerated products in the natural channel.

The data also revealed that cheese alternatives are the fastest growing category, with 31.4% growth in the natural channel and 18% growth in all channels, for a total of $104 million in sales over the past year.

According to the SPINS data, total plant-based meat sales exceeded $606 million in sales last year, with refrigerated meat alternatives experiencing especially high growth, at 15.9% in the natural channel.

SPINS analyzed data in four categories—non-dairy beverages (refrigerated and shelf stable), cheese alternatives, meat alternatives (refrigerated and frozen) and tofu products over a 52-week period ending Jan. 22.