‘We’re selling every drop of oatmilk we can make’

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after posting a 20.4% increase in net revenues to $243.5m in the second quarter and raising guidance for the full year, Ennen said oatmilk –​ the rising star in the plant-based milk category – “is currently about 20% of the market and we can comfortably see line of sight to 30% in the next three to five years.  

“We are selling every drop of oat milk we can make, and we have additional demand that we cannot satisfy.”

‘Capacity-constrained’ high-protein plant-based beverage space has ‘huge huge runway for us’

A new production line at SunOpta’s plant in Modesto is coming online in Q3, 2022, with a new oat extraction plant to follow in Q3, 2023.

The first phase of the Texas plant should be up and running by the end of this year producing plant-based beverages including oatmilk, while a new line for producing high-protein, more viscous plant-based shakes – a $6bn “capacity-constrained​” market Ennen says has been “growing double digits for a number of years and has huge, huge runway for us​” – is due to come online in late q1/early Q2, 2023.

SOWN organic oat-based creamer: ‘We doubled revenue in the quarter albeit off a relatively small base’

While Nielsen data for the 13 weeks to July 1 showed that US retail dollar sales of plant-based milks were up 9% in measured channels, revenues in SunOpta’s plant-based business were up 31% in Q2, said Ennen.

So if you compare and contrast that to our results, we have great partners who are growing faster than the market, we have sizable growth in foodservice, which isn’t captured in those Nielsen figures, and we picked up new business that also contributed to growth.

“Our SOWN organic oat creamer ​[a brand developed by SunOpta in-house to fill what it saw as a gap in the plant-based creamers space] is also doing very, very well in the marketplace and is one of the top two or three brands in the whole creamer category at Whole Foods. We doubled revenue in the quarter albeit off a relatively small base.”

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