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The Coca-Cola Company is expanding its plant-based portfolio with a new oat milk product launched under its Simply brand. The move comes as the entire oat milk category surges to become the second most popular plant-based dairy alternative within just years of its inception, and is now recording triple-digit sales growth.
Coca-Cola is entering the oat milk market with its new Simply Oat product, which will come in three varieties – original, vanilla and creamy. Made with non-GMO oat extract, oat flour, cane sugar, natural flavourings and salt, the new gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan alternative joins Simply’s first plant-based milk offering, Simply Almond, which landed on shelves last year.
The range of Simply Oat milks come at 80 to 110 calories per serving, depending on the flavour, with the original and creamy flavours boasting 2 grams of protein, while the vanilla comes with 1 gram of protein per serving.
Simply Oat’s creamy product also includes sunflower oil as an ingredient and is designed to be incorporated into coffee beverages like lattes and cappuccinos with its “rich texture that foams well”.
All three products are available in 46-ounce carafes, just like its almond-based sister product. While Coca-Cola has yet to release further details about where Simply Oat will be stocked, given the brand’s almond milk line is currently available in major outlets including Kroger and Target, it’s likely to join the dairy-free shelves at these chains.
For the world’s biggest beverage company to join the oat milk market is testament to the unmissable surge in the popularity of the alternative in recent years, racing ahead of other product categories in the broader plant-based sector, which is already growing at levels far exceeding the animal-based food industry.
According to SPINS data, oat milk sales have risen an eye-popping 294% in enhanced retail channels and 345% in mainstream retailers over the past year.
Altogether, the wider plant-based food retail market within the U.S. topped a record US$7 billion in 2020, and is forecast to continue growing at double-digits in the coming years, as mainstream consumer adoption of alternative proteins continues to rise.
Oatly is perhaps the most famous player dominating the oat milk category, though many more brands are now joining the competition, including Dream, which has recently been acquired by beverage co-packer and manufacturer SunOpta, who plans to aggressively ramp up oat-based innovation across all dairy-free alternatives, from milk to yoghurt and cream.
Recording triple-digit growth across its own sales for three consecutive years, the Swedish oat milk giant Oatly is now setting its sights on going public. In February, the firm filed with U.S. regulators to launch an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange, and is reportedly seeking a US$10 billion valuation. It has since also revealed that it is considering going public in Hong Kong.
In addition to its strong foothold across the U.S. and European markets, Oatly is doubling down its footprint in Asia as the global shift away from dairy takes hold. It has partnered with Singapore beverage giant Yeo’s to begin producing the brand’s oat milk to supply the Chinese market by mid-2021, and its other markets in the region thereafter, after landing in Starbucks chains across eight Asian countries.
Lead image courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company / designed by Green Queen Media.