SAN ANTONIO – New data from 210 Analytics and IRI recently showed that refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives showed “robust growth” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The analysis led by Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics, said that year-over-year sales gains peaked during the early weeks of panic buying with a 152% increase verse the same week in 2019. Volume sales remained strong as well at a 135% increase the same week last year. However, volume sales gains trailed dollar gains since the start of the pandemic.

Comparing frozen and refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives for the week of May 24, frozen products generated $15 million in sales while $10 million was generated from refrigerated meat alternatives. In the same week, meat saw more than $1.5 billion in sales. 210 Analytics also pointed out that the refrigerated plant-based meat sales were almost equal to those of fresh lamb in the same week.

Refrigerated alternatives reached an increase in of 258% during the first of the panic-buying weeks and gains increased an average around 120% versus the same week a year ago, with a drop in the recent week.

The data showed that 63.3% of plant-based meat alternative sales were generated by frozen items, refrigerated items made up 36.7% of the shares.

210 Analytics also compared absolute dollar gains for both meat department and refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives. Traditional meat showed $5.7 billion while plant-based alternatives showed $66.6 million.

Additionally, 1.2 billion lbs of meat and poultry were sold between March 8 and May 24 versus 7.8 million lbs of refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives.