MINNEAPOLIS – SunOpta, Inc. made oat milk processing a strategic precedence in 2018 and started making investments to change into a number one producer of the product. Lately, oat milk is on course to be the main plant-based beverage bought through the corporate. Now SunOpta control has made the improvement of a vitamin beverage industry a strategic precedence.
Michael Buick, basic supervisor of SunOpta’s Plant-Based totally Meals and Beverage industry unit, forecast gross sales within the new class will succeed in $50 million through fiscal 2025.
“We’re going to leverage our core features (in aseptic beverage processing) to get into vitamin,” he stated June 2 all over the corporate’s investor day presentation.
SunOpta is including the features to procedure 330 ml applications, the principle layout for ready-to-drink vitamin and protein drinks. The corporate is also in negotiation with a “main emblem” within the class to shop for 90% of SunOpta’s capability, stated Mr. Buick.
“I believe there’s numerous room to run,” he stated. “We’re very excited in an effort to spouse with a number one emblem to truly roughly create a foothold in that class.”
The preliminary foray into the class will focal point on whey-based drinks, stated Joseph D. Ennen, leader govt officer.
“We might wish to upload incremental capability to truly force exhausting towards the plant-based facet of it, and we’d glance to do this with a spouse,” he stated. “Those are pricey production strains. They’re huge. You want quantity flowing via them.
“I imply you couldn’t put a unmarried line in and say we’re handiest going to run plant-based protein beverages. You wouldn’t just like the glance of that for the primary couple of years … We’re entering it with the whey-based beverages, however we’re totally taking a look to carry our plant-based milk production wisdom and experience to endure there and assist force and construct the plant-based facet of it.”
Mr. Buick additionally famous all over his presentation that oat milk gross sales have surged for SunOpta.
“Oat in 2022 would be the biggest form of anything else that we do,” he stated. “If this used to be 2018 … oat could be one-third of one% of our general industry — one-third of one%. In 2022, it’ll be one-third of our general industry.”
Taking a look forward to fiscal 2025, he forecasted that SunOpta’s oat milk gross sales will double from $80 million in fiscal 2021 to $200 million. The expansion shall be pushed through increasing past its core shelf secure oat milks and creamers into oat milk base, oat milk lattes, oat milk with protein, oat ice cream and oat spreads.
“Oat is the fastest-growing phase in plant-based milk,” Mr. Buick stated. “Shelf-stable, refrigerated, retail or foodservice — The main nationwide manufacturers have lower than a 40% ACV at retail. There’s no longer sufficient prolonged shelf-life processing. There’s no longer sufficient aseptic processing. And there’s, maximum indisputably, no longer sufficient oat extraction out there to gasoline and to provider the call for of oat milk.”
SunOpta has plans to construct out its oat extraction features in California.
“You’ll believe, once more, when the main manufacturers have a 40% ACV, they are busy construction refrigerated prolonged shelf-life capability,” Mr. Buick stated. “And they are reckoning on us to construct extra oat extraction.”