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Quaker joins non-dairy market with oat milk

Wednesday, October 24, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anne Stych, Milwaukee Business Journal
Quaker Oats will join the growing non-dairy "milk” market with the launch of an oat-based beverage in January. 

Quaker Oat Beverage is part of PepsiCo’s push to expand its portfolio of healthier drink options, which already include O.N.E., Kero Coco and Naked.

Quaker, a PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) brand, said the beverage contains beta-glucan, fiber from oat bran that might reduce the risk of heart disease.

"Oats are good for you,” Robbert Rietbroek, Quaker Foods North America’s general manager, told the New York Times. "They’re good for your heart. They reduce cholesterol. They’re good for your gut, and they give you long-lasting energy.”

The drink will compete with Oatly, an oat-based beverage made by the Swedish company of the same name. Oatly gained popularity when coffee shops noted it was a better nondairy alternative than other plant-based "milks” because its thicker consistency made lattes frothier.

Oatly began to sell the beverage at stores including Wegman’s, Whole Foods and ShopRite this year.

Sales of plant-based milk alternatives totaled more than $2 billion last year, an increase of 61 percent over five years, as vegans, people unable to digest cow’s milk and consumers seeking what they perceive as healthier choices up their purchases, per NYT.

According to a study by agricultural company Cargill, 50 percent of U.S. shoppers buy both dairy milk and non-dairy replacements.

Shoppers cited a number of reasons, including lactose intolerance and dairy allergies, but also said they want to avoid growth hormones, saturated fat and antibiotics, LiveKindly reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last month it was considering labeling restrictions for vegetable products being sold as alternatives to dairy milk and sought to gauge public understanding of the differences. 

A study by the International Food Information Council found that fewer than 10 percent of US consumers believe that plant-based "milks" contain cow’s milk, per FoodBev.

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