The retail sales growth of natural food and beverage products is much higher than growth of the overall food and beverage market, according to the “2019 State of the Natural Industry” report from SPINS, Chicago.
The total food and beverage retail market is growing 1.7% year over year, according to SPINS data, with natural food and beverage products growing at 5%.
“Natural products are 10.5% of the dollar volume, yet responsible for 29.3% of dollar growth across the total marketplace, in part due to a more premium price point,” according to the report.
While natural products continue to grow 4-5% in natural and specialty retail outlets, conventional retail stores are seeing increased sales of natural products as well. For instance, in the conventional multi-outlet channel for foods and beverages, natural products were 9.1% of total dollar volume (up from 7.7% in 2016), and responsible for 27.4% of growth for the year ending in May.
Growth was even higher in the convenience channel, with 11% unit growth. While natural products are still only 4.6% of dollar volume, they contributed 15.9% of dollar growth for food and beverage categories in this channel for the year ending in May.
Adoption of natural products is highest on the East and West coasts, with California leading the adoption rate.
While certified-organic items make up only 3% of total food and beverage sales, the 2.8% growth rate was higher than that of the total food and beverage market. Growth in organic sales was highest in the conventional multi-outlet channel, with 3.2% growth over the previous year.
The three categories with the highest organic sales volume were produce, milk and refrigerated juices and functional beverages, and the categories with the highest percentage of organic sales were refrigerated tofu (57.8%) and refrigerated juices and functional beverages (13.4%).
Food and beverage products labeled as vegan are growing at a rate of 10.1%, with a 10.8% growth rate in the conventional multi-outlet channel. The fastest-growing categories for vegan food included refrigerated plant-based alternatives to dairy milk and meat.
Paleo-positioned products grew by 45.3% to $536.7 million, and grain-free products increased 76% to $271.5 million. Products with explicit grain-free labeling grew by 158.5% to $28.5 million.