Acosta Group’s Latest Plant-Based Shopper Insights Study Illuminates Brand and Retailer Opportunities

Today, Acosta Group has unveiled the findings of its plant-based study conducted through its exclusive Shopper Community, ahead of the highly anticipated Natural Products Expo East 2023, focusing on natural, organic, and healthy products. This new study delves into the preferences of active, light, and non-plant-based consumers, offering valuable insights for brands and retailers seeking to drive growth both in physical stores and online.

Over the last four years, the sales of plant-based products have experienced substantial growth, reaching a remarkable $8 billion in 2022 (SPINS). While 88% of active users demonstrate a moderate to high commitment to continuing their plant-based purchases, one-third of shoppers express a desire for a more extensive selection of plant-based offerings in stores. To foster growth, retailers and brands should consider expanding their product range and offering a broader array of options both online and in physical stores.

Kathy Risch, SVP of Consumer Insights and Trends at Acosta Group, commented on the study, saying, “We asked our shopper community what initially influenced their consumption of plant-based products, and they cited overall health reasons, nutritional concerns, and animal welfare as the top motivations, especially for those who have embraced plant-based choices over the long term. Shoppers attach equal importance to receiving reliable and accurate information from brands, retailers, and the media about plant-based foods to make well-informed choices, especially those embarking on their plant-based journeys.”

Additional key findings and implications from the study include:

– Active users are more inclined to believe that plant-based products are here to stay, while only 20% of non-users share this perspective, viewing it as more of a passing trend.
– More than half of all shoppers identify affordability as the primary barrier to purchasing plant-based products.
– Gen-Z and Millennials exhibit strong interest in adopting plant-based products, with sustainability playing a significant role in their choices. This aligns with another Acosta Group study on Sustainability Shopper Insights, where 52% of Gen Z and Millennials expressed a preference for sustainable products.
– Active plant-based consumers express interest in seeing more plant-based soups and snacks, whereas newcomers to plant-based options are drawn to alternative milk, creamers, protein shakes, and pizza.

Andrew Fleming, SVP Natural Channel at Acosta, emphasized the potential for brands and retailers to engage with all plant-based shoppers, active or not, through various educational and connection methods. He stressed the importance of strengthening omnichannel strategies and addressing all aspects of the consumer journey, including clear signage, sampling, and promotions to encourage trial and remind shoppers of product benefits.

Acosta’s Plant-Based Shopper Insights study was conducted from June 6-12, 2023, involving 1,314 household shoppers aged 18 to 76, drawn from its proprietary Shopper Community.

The company’s Sustainability Shopper Insights study was conducted from March 8-12, 2023, involving 883 primary household shoppers aged 18 to 76, also sourced from its proprietary Shopper Community.

The Acosta Group Shopper Community comprises over 40,000 demographically diverse shoppers across the U.S. and serves as the company’s exclusive community for survey engagement.

About Acosta Group:

Acosta Group is a consortium of trusted retail, marketing, and foodservice agencies that empower brands and retailers to succeed in the modern marketplace. With over 95 years of experience, Acosta Group delivers transformative, commerce-focused solutions and connects partners with consumers at every point in their shopping journey.

Comprising Acosta, CORE Foodservice, Mosaic, Premium Retail Services, and ActionLink, Acosta Group understands and anticipates evolving consumer needs, driving accelerated performance to connect the commerce of tomorrow with today’s consumers.

For more information, please visit Acosta Group on LinkedIn and at

Acosta Natural, powered by Impact, is a division of the leading sales agency Acosta, offering nationwide reach and local expertise to tailor natural brand strategies. Led by a dedicated team with a history of assisting emerging natural brands since 1994, Acosta Natural provides comprehensive coverage across natural retailers and boasts extensive penetration into independent and co-op markets.

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Adrienn Sarkany
Adrienn Sarkany
Hello there! I'm a 21-year-old university student majoring in Finnish and Korean Language and Literature. I have a deep passion for art and a profound connection to the natural world. My journey through life has been a colorful one, driven by my love for creativity, music, and the wonders of the great outdoors. As a dedicated student, I've already earned a degree in Classic Cantos, a testament to my appreciation for the timeless beauty of classical music. Beyond the classroom, my artistic spirit thrives through my love for painting and drawing. These creative outlets allow me to express my thoughts and emotions, transforming blank canvases into vibrant stories. My interests go far beyond music and art. Singing, playing the piano, and exploring new melodies are integral parts of my life, providing me with both solace and exhilaration. When I'm not immersed in the world of art and music, I find solace in nature's embrace. My heart is drawn to animals and the serene beauty of the natural world, fueling my desire to protect and preserve our precious environment.


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