Oatly North America’s President, Mike Messersmith, spotted an unexpected growth trend for vegan oat milk as the coronavirus epidemic started. He said he was surprised to see the milk alternative in the same lists of growing products like hand sanitizers. Last March, oat milk sales increased considerably when customers stocked up grocery products at the start of this epidemic.
Despite being surprised by that, Messersmith knows why people consume oat milk more, why Oatly is among the trendiest products and how this epidemic sped up its sales. Milk made from oats is inarguably the biggest success story from the epidemic. Sales may have moderated slightly after the grocery stocking last March, but these are growing exponentially. So much so, it is the second-best known plant-based milk available in the US market, as per the data tech company SPINS.
Oatly leads the market thanks to its high-profile celebrity investors, long history, quirky advertisements, and global cult following. In 2019, Oatly created a 93% greater quantity of its milk alternative for global customers as compared to 2018. Its worldwide sales increased 88% in 2019, plus it had $206,000,000 in turnover.
As for Messersmith, a large part of the Swedish brand’s success stems from evolving customer preferences due to the epidemic, plus increased concern and understanding regarding health and sustainability. Add to that Oatly’s around 30 years of operational history, and the brand suits the items that customers seek presently, said Messersmith.
According to him, the factor that drove the Oatly growth story is that customers are willing to use plant-based alternatives to milk.
Oatly is available in 25 nations; it was launched in the US five years ago. Anyhow, the company did not start to sell it in groceries. Rather, it launched the product through coffee shops. As for Messersmith, that approach to sales was to gently encourage customers to try the milk alternative. Several people might have wished not to use an entire container of the item in groceries, but some amount of it in coffee shops was different, said Messersmith.
That approach of taking oat milk to customers through cappuccino or latte could make people think that it was better than what they expected and could help the brand expand, he implied. Thus, Oatly won customers over and then it turned to groceries as a sales channel.
Maybe it is the company’s growth that prompted it to plan a factory launch in the US this year.