The demand for plant-based milk alternatives has been growing rapidly in recent years. Oat drinks are particularly popular, which is particularly beneficial for the company Oatly. The Swedish manufacturer of milk alternatives uses oats, cocoa and fruit flavours to make its products. In an interview with Helge Weitz and Tobias, general managers of Oatly DACH – we asked about recent developments and future plans.
What is your current range in Germany?
Oatly’s approach is to cover all major categories of dairy products with its oat-based range. This is the only way we can really make a difference with our mission to get people to eat healthier and more sustainably. The spectrum of Oatly products already ranges from classic oat drinks and spreads to yogurt alternatives and ice cream. Since we have only recently launched in German supermarkets, the first step will be to focus on our oat drinks. These are available in five different versions, including an organic version and a barista edition. Our Barista Edition in particular is causing a sensation both in the coffee scene worldwide and on German supermarket shelves. It is not only highly appreciated by coffee aficionados in terms of taste, but also clearly stands out from other milk alternatives and oat drinks with its creaminess and foamability.
Which channels are the drinks currently represented in, and which will be added in the near future?
We only launched in March, but are already available throughout Germany. Consumers can find us in various Edeka and Rewe stores, as well as at the Metro and various wholesalers. In addition, we can also be found at various specialist organic retailers, such as Denn’s.
In addition, connoisseurs of coffee can already order their Cappuccino or CappOATccino with our Barista Edition in almost 300 speciality cafés throughout Germany. You can see which cafés they are using our Oatfinder. We will continue to expand availability in these channels.
What distinguishes your products from others?
Our entire concept. We firmly believe in the change to a primarily plant-based diet and the associated impact on the environment and health. And with our oat-based milk alternatives, we deliver products that are both sustainable and healthy, whilst at the same time making it easy to switch from milk-based products to milk alternatives.
The advantage of oats is that they can be grown in a particularly sustainable and resource-conserving manner, especially compared to dairy products. For example, if you drink your coffee with our oat drinks instead of cow’s milk, you can save up to 80 percent CO2.
But an oat drink is not just an oat drink; as the inventors of oat drinks, we developed our products more than 25 years ago on the basis of scientific findings at the University of Lund in Sweden. We have succeeded in preserving the valuable beta-glucan in oats. Beta-glucan is good for the heart and circulation and can stabilise blood cholesterol levels*. Each ingredient is carefully selected by us for a specific reason, to achieve the optimum balance of valuable nutrients, sustainability and good taste. We are very transparent; the ingredients and raw materials used and their origins can be found on our website.
In the end, our products simply taste good, because this is the only way to make it easy for people to switch from dairy products to plant-based alternatives. We see ourselves as the pioneers of the “post-milk generation”, with the aim of bringing the existing movement of sustainable and healthy nutrition based on plants into the mainstream and supplying it with suitable products.
What are your plans for Oatly?
In our home country Sweden, Oatly has already succeeded in establishing our plant-based milk alternatives on a large scale – that is what we are striving for here too. The initial figures show us that we are on the right track. Amongst our trading partners, with whom we started in March, we are already the clear market leader in oat drinks and the second-strongest brand amongst all plant-based milk alternatives after only two months.
What will happen in the next few weeks?
It is important for us to further increase availability in Germany by the end of the year. In addition, we are always introducing new products, such as our organic “On-the-Go” drinks, which are available in selected channels in the flavours Matcha Latte, Café Latte and Mocha Latte – for vegan coffee or tea enjoyment on the go.
*Betaglucanes are water-soluble dietary fibres located under the shell of the oat grain. As part of a balanced and varied diet and a healthy lifestyle, they can help to stabilize both blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A 250 ml glass of Oatly provides you with one third (1g) of the recommended daily allowance of Betaglucan.