Where did the year go? We are thrilled to share how 2019 has been a wonderful year for the plant-based foods industry! Membership is growing and we’ve had a number of wins in the policy arena and in the marketplace. Here are some highlights.
2019 was a wonderful year for PBFA membership! We’re proud to share that we grew to over 160 company members plus over 200 affiliate and investor members. We also added two new large company members to the board: Blue Diamond and Kellogg.
We enjoyed plenty of opportunities to connect with PBFA members this year during our member events! Lots of food, drinks, and networking happened at our fun happy hours at Natural Products Expo West as well as Expo East. This year also saw the launch of Plant Based World, PBFA’s official tradeshow. The event attracted over 3,700 attendees and the show floor and education sessions were packed throughout the weekend. An impressive 42 PBFA members exhibited at the show and we had our own booth where the entire PBFA staff could speak with conference attendees, journalists, members, and experts from across the plant-based foods industry.
As plant-based foods continue to rise in popularity, so do political threats from special interests. In 2019, the PBFA policy successfully overcame threats to our member’s rights to use meat and dairy terms on their labels. The Dairy Pride Act returned in 2019 and for the third year in a row, we were able to keep it at bay. We also met with, and submitted comments to FDA on dairy alternatives labeling; and analyzed the comments submitted to FDA, to show support.
This year, over half the states proposed bills aimed at stopping our members from using meat and dairy terms on their labels. With the help of our lobbyists, we were able to stop or positively amend almost all these bills. Also, our lawsuit resulted in Mississippi revising its labeling regulations thanks to teaming up with Upton’s Naturals and the Institute for Justice. This was the first time PBFA was as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, and we got swift results.
We also extended our policy work on the Hill, holding our first-ever congressional briefing on the opportunity plant-based foods and offers in agriculture. To round out the year, we released our voluntary standards on plant-based meat labeling and are proud to share the news made headlines in Progressive Grocer, Store Brands, Winsight, FoodDive, and Fast Company!
In July, we released new PBFA-commissioned data from Spins on retail food sales. The data shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 11 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion. News of the data release made quite the splash in the media, you can see some of the top hits here!
Our partnerships with retailers led to many exciting opportunities. We launched the first-ever study with Kroger to research the sale of plant-based meats within their meat department, a breakthrough for all of retail. We also assisted Kroger with two major events at their HQ, including Kroger VegFest and Wellness Your Way, where our members exhibited and had the chance to network with retail executives. Our Senior Director of Retail Partnerships Julie Emmett also presented our work to several other major retailers including Hannaford.
Our food service team, led by PBFA’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Sabina Vyas, launched “The Power Plant,” an innovative grab and go concept, at two major national trade shows aimed food service operators. We are looking forward to even more developments to increase the reach of plant-based foods in 2020!
We also celebrated the growth of the Certified Plant Based stamp! Over 25 companies have adopted the stamp for a variety of their foods, including Albertson’s, Morningstar Farms, Miyoko’s, Upton’s Naturals, and Tofurky. Click here to see the full list of brands.
Help us Accomplish Even More in 2020!
With so much accomplished in 2019, we’re looking forward to an even more productive 2020 – but we need your help! We have an immediate need to fill a minimum of two positions to assist in our retail and food service departments. Our plan is to expand our staffing to execute our programs. To support this growth, we launched our Fall in Love With Plant Based fundraising campaign. Please consider making a donation to help us fully realize our potential! For more details check out our campaign page, here.
We’re Hiring! Do you know anyone who wants to help grow plant-based? We’re looking to hire a Retail Manager. We will have several more openings in 2020, so keep an eye out as we grow our team to help grow the industry!
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and plant-based New Year.