Milk alternatives performed the best out of all plant-based categories in the US in sales value terms in 2023, even as volumes fell, according to a new report.

Citing data from industry insights group SPINS, the Good Food Institute’s (GFI) State of the Industry report found plant-based milk retail sales grew 1% on 2022, and by 9% on 2021, to $2.9bn in dollar sales.

However, unit sales, which sat at 744m, fell 8% on 2022 and by 10% on the year prior to that.

Almost 50% of households in the US bought plant-based milks at least once during the year. Some 79% of those households also carried out repeat purchases.

Coffee creamer alternatives also performed well in 2023, reaching $701m in dollar sales, a 10% hike on 2022 and 35% increase on 2021. Unit sales also increased 4% year-on-year in US retail and 14% on two years’ prior, to 141m.

Plant-based ready-to-drink beverages booked $247m in US retail dollar sales last year, a drop of 1% year-on-year but growing 20% on 2021.

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Unit sales for plant-based RTDs were also up 12% on 2021 but declined 3% on 2022, at 60m.

Plant-based creamers enjoyed a 15% household penetration and a 65% repeat purchase rate, the report said.

Total plant-based food and drink sales in US retail dropped 2% compared to last year, with dollar sales declining 2% to $8.1bn, while unit sales were down 9% to 1.8bn.

Household penetration rates were also negative or flat across plant-based, said the GFI. Milk alternatives, however, had the largest share of purchasing US households out of the whole category.

Since the GFI first started tracking the category in 2017, sales of plant-based food are said to have grown more than half in the US retail.