Meat alternatives outperformed peers in 2021

By: Shanshan Zhang, Analytics and Media Manager, and Ashton Brown, Technical Writer

Category Insights: Each year, Amazon Ads researchers analyze shopping trends at the category level to discover actionable insights that advertisers can use to inform their marketing strategies.

Story highlights:

In this article, we present a peer-to-peer analysis of shopping behaviors between December 2019 and November 2021 within the Meat industry in Amazon’s store. To conduct the comparison, we use the Meat Alternatives category as a focal point to analyze the year-over-year growth rate of total sales and shopping trends (shopping queries, entry sub-categories, etc.).

Choosing one category as the focal point allows advertisers to better understand how the Meat Alternatives category compares to peer categories (Chicken, Chicken Frozen, Pork Bacon, and Turkey).

Meat Alternatives is the second-largest category in the Meat industry and continues to grow on Amazon

At the time of our analysis, the Meat Alternatives category is second in sales and sales growth rank amongst other peer categories, including:

  • Chicken (first in sales and third in sales growth)
  • Chicken Frozen (third in sales and first in sales growth rank)
  • Pork Bacon, Uncooked (fourth in sales and fifth in sales growth)
  • Turkey (fifth in sales and fourth in sales growth)

Meat Alternatives category performance between December 2020 and November 2021 on


Sales rank amongst Meat categories


Sales growth rank amongst Meat categories

100% of new-to-category Meat Alternatives shoppers purchase other products in Amazon’s store.

The Meat Alternatives new-to-category customers show a high propensity of overlap in other categories on Amazon. For example, our research shows that 100% of new-to-category customers purchase products from other categories prior to purchasing a meat alternative. Top overlap categories, ordered by purchase propensity, are:

  • Ready-to-cook meals (soups)
  • Seafood (salmon, shrimp)
  • Value-added produce (lettuce, baby spinach)
  • Ready-to-eat meals (salad bowls)
  • Deli (Lunchables, packaged deli meat)

New-to-category shoppers primarily entered the Meat Alternatives category between December and March

Between December 2020 and November 2021, millions of shoppers visited the Meat Alternatives category for the first time. Since these are all potential customers, it is important to understand how and when these new-to-category shoppers enter the category. Our data shows that new-to-category shoppers primarily shopped on Amazon between December and March, though category entry was fairly consistent all year.

Monthly share of annual new-to-category shoppers (December '20–November '21)

Monthly share of annual new-to-category shoppers

December '20–November '21

Three sub-categories (plant-based beef, chicken, and pork) spurred new-to-category customers

Customers shopping for Meat Alternatives enter the category through three sub-categories (plant-based beef, chicken, and pork) in 2021, with plant-based beef being the leading entry point for new customers.

Top entry sub-categories

Plant-based Beef: 45%


Plant-based Chicken: 31%


Plant-based Pork: 23%


Plant-based Fish: 2%


What were the top shopping trends in Meat Alternatives during the 24-months studied?

In terms of shopping query volume, the leading queries “vegan” and “tofu” remain high, and other non-branded shopping queries remain low.


As seen in this study, Meat Alternatives is the second-largest sub-category in terms of sales in the Meat product category in Amazon’s store. Customers enter the category (shopped for the first time) consistently throughout the year—with January being the top entry point.

To improve performance on Amazon, Meat Alternatives advertisers can consider including top keywords (by size and by trending) to their sponsored ads campaigns. Also, advertisers can consider the top overlap categories and entry segments when determining when and how to reach new-to-category shoppers.