Company News

Oato’s “Category-First” Fresh Oat Milk Expands into Retail, Aiming to Become Biggest Brand in UK Alt Milk Category

Lancashire, England-based Oato is expanding into brick-and-mortar retail through a distribution deal with Booths for its 1L Fresh Barista Whole Oat Drink, with bold ambitions, claiming it is poised to become the leading alt milk in the UK.

The oat milk is said to be a category first in that it is not UHT (ultra-high temperature)/shelf-stable, but fresh/refrigerated. “Our latest release is a category first to the dairy alternative category, emphasising local sourcing, convenience, and provenance—qualities that matter to British consumers. Being fresh, not UHT sets us apart,” says Oato, explaining that British consumers have always preferred fresh dairy milk over long-life options, though there are very few available counterparts in plant-based milk. Fresh milk simply tastes better, says Oato, and why should oat be any different?

Carl Hopwood founded the Oato in 2019 leveraging his background in chemistry and business, and “strong interest in a more sustainable future”, after he observed a gap in the market for a fresh alternative not heated to ultra-high temperatures. Oato has strong eco credentials and claims to offer one of the lowest carbon footprints in the plant-based milk sector; its oats are British and its bottling facility produces more solar power than it uses, according to the team.

Oato launches into retail
© Oato

The OG home delivery service

Oato’s business model centres around the production of fresh oat milk delivered to doorsteps by the traditional milkman, a practice that has continued around the country for around two centuries. The Oato milk is delivered in a glass bottle that can be reused several times over, coming in chocolate and strawberry in addition to the regular oat. “We embrace all pint bottles for washing, sterilising, and refilling. This practice not only promotes the reuse of resources across the dairy industry but also aligns with our environmental values. In our in-house facility, every bottle — clear or printed — undergoes a thorough cleaning and sterilisation process before being refilled with Oato oat milk. This ensures that regardless of the bottle’s previous branding, it meets our high standards of quality and safety for reuse.”

This week, Oato announces that in addition to the glass pint bottles, and “for those who can’t access our milk rounds, or simply want to pick up some Oato on their weekly shop, we have launched our Barista Whole onto supermarket shelves. It’s the exact same classic recipe as it always has been, just in a new format”.

The retail launch will come in 100% recyclable 1 litre plastic bottles, being the recognisable format for fresh milk in UK retail; after considering all the options for launching their fresh alternative into supermarkets, the most sustainable option for the present time was found to be the standard poly format, which can be universally recycled across the UK.

Oato pint with coffee
© Oato

“Oato is set to become the leading dairy alternative brand within the UK, supplying our fresh British oat milk across both milk rounds and retail. We believe fresh milk tastes better and that’s why we’re launching Oato in the convenience of the poly bottle alongside our successful offering of Oato through the traditional UK milk rounds,” says Carl Hopwood.

“We have had such positive feedback from buyers so far; they feel that we bring something unique and exciting to the dairy alternative category. Locally sourced, convenience and provenance matter to British consumers, so to be one of the few that have those USPs within the dairy alternative category while also being fresh and not UHT raises the bar,” he adds.

Oato’s 1L Fresh Barista Whole Oat drink launches in Booths across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, and Cheshire from this week onwards.

ClosePlease login
See all bookmarks