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How a Swedish oat milk brand went ballistic in the US

Oatly is milk made from oats, and ticked along nicely for about two decades in Sweden. In 2012, the oat milk company brought in a new CEO, Toni Petersson, with a radical new vision for the brand and with a new look and a tasty product, Oatly set its sights on America.

In 2018, with a mixture of contextual insight and a clever promotional strategy, the business went from nowhere to shooting-the-lights out in a very short space of time.

This is how they did it:

“Oat milk is made with a special blend of enzymes that converts starches into sugars during water-based hydrolysis. When strained — in this case industrially, in a centrifuge — ­the resulting product gains a natural sweetness and a “micro-foamability” that rivals milk, making it perfect for cutting the bitterness of espresso and creating latte art.”, read more

“Oatly’s coffee-shop-focused approach to entering the US market worked a bit too well. Several months after its playfully packaged products finally hit grocery stores, in 2018, the company couldn’t keep up with demand. The shortages fueled a ridiculous aftermarket on the internet, where prices reached around $20 per carton.”, read more


Related reading:

How Oat milk brand Oatly is transforming the dairy aisle – TIME

Along with self-driving cars and a manned trip to Mars, one of modern society’s most pressing technological challenges has been developing tasty non-dairy alternatives to milk.

In the race to fill the nation’s cereal bowls and coffee mugs, almond milk has recently reigned supreme, but when the water-guzzling beverage (one almond requires about a gallon of water to grow) got linked to the California drought, the successor to soy milk fell from grace.

Except for soy, no other non-dairy milks have caught on domestically. They are too thin, too bitter or contain a long list of artificial thickeners and preservatives: xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate.

Then came Oatly, the maker of a faux milk made from oats. Oatly is a Swedish company that was founded 25 years ago by a food science professor named Rickard Oste….