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The Next Generation of Oat Beverages

As oat beverages expand around the world, brands are looking for new ways to grab consumers’ attention. See how the next generation of oat beverages is addressing consumers’ unmet needs.

Oat Beverages on the Rise Globally

The global oat milk market—which was valued at $360.5 million in 2019—is forecast to reach $995.3 million by 2027.1 This represents a CAGR of 13.4% from 2021 to 2027.2 Sales of oat milk surged during the COVID-19 outbreak as consumers stocked up their favorite items, drawing even more attention to this trending beverage.

As consumers’ love of oat milk continues to grow, capital has been flowing into the oat milk segment, even in unexpected places. For example, oat milk is gaining traction in China, a country where soy milk has long dominated due to cultural tradition. Last year, 8.4% of new plant-based beverages launched in China were oat beverages, up from 4.7% the year before.3 Mintel’s research shows one in four consumers interested in plant-based products in China drink oat milk at least once a week.

Growing Interest in Health and Sustainability of Oat Milk

While oat milk may have taken off initially due to its creamy texture and mild, sweet taste that makes it perfect for coffee beverages, additional factors are contributing to the latest wave of growth. More consumers are tuning in to the health and sustainability advantages of oat beverages. The pandemic has emphasized the need for eating well to stay healthy, as well as shifting to more plant-based choices for the health of the planet.

man looking at phone

Leading Brands in Oat Milk

Market leader Oatly (Sweden) is largely responsible for popularizing oat milk in the U.S. after launching here in 2016. Partnerships with coffee shops allowed Oatly to introduce oat milk to consumers by way of their favorite coffee beverages. The popularity of Oatly caught the attention of major U.S. brands, with companies like Chobani and Quaker quickly following suit with their own oat beverages.

In 2018, Oatly successfully launched its oat milk in China in a joint venture with China Resources Corporation. Oatly’s product is now available in coffee shops across the country and through e-commerce platform Tmall. Dairy company Yili (China) took notice and, with its recent oat beverage launch, has become a key competitor in this space.

Emerging Oat Beverage Brands

New brands to watch in this space include Chinese startup Oakidoki, a plant-based beverage company that expanded from B2B to B2C sales last year. Oakidoki’s oat beverage is available for purchase online through Tmall and Taobao and at the high-end supermarket Hema Fresh. Oakidoki has plans to sell its oat milk in additional categories such as maternal and infant beverages, airline meals, and more.

Minor Figures (UK) is a coffee company selling oat milk specially formulated for use in coffee. Its focus is on delivering a premium coffee experience, and the company developed its oat milk with this in mind. Another customized-for-use approach can be seen by Rise Brewing Co. (U.S.). Its choice of oat milk for use in its canned RTD nitro coffees gives consumers a convenient, grab-and-go way to enjoy oat milk.

bowl of oats

Oat Ingredient Solutions

The growing popularity of oat beverages globally makes this an ideal time for brands to consider exploring the segment, especially new ways of using oat milk and application-specific formulas. Glanbia Nutritionals’ BevOatTM Low Viscosity can help companies get started. BevOatTM Low Viscosity is a heat-treated, guaranteed gluten-free oat ingredient designed to make creamy and delicious beverages.

Contact us to learn more about using our oat or other plant-based ingredients in your next beverage!

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References

1-2. Allied Market Research. (2020). Oat Milk Market by Source, Flavor, Packaging Form, and Distribution Channel: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021–2027.
3-4. Mintel. (2021). Plant-based Drinks – China – May 2021.

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