Oatly Founder Rickard Öste first created a milk product under the name Mill Milk in 1990, sold in health stores across Sweden and the United Kingdom, becoming a success for health-conscious consumers and those with lactose intolerance.
In 2001 Oatly was formed, with CEO Toni Petersson coming on-board to make Oatly the mainstream product it is today, a dairy-free alternative for those interested in a diet beneficial for both humans and the planet.
Oatly was first introduced to its Nordic neighbours, then went global in 2017. When Oatly was first released in the United States, demand for the king of oat milks, or ”white gold” was so high, it completely sold out in New York City and had country wide shortages, prompting baristas and supermarkets to post signs on windows letting customers know of the lack of oats inside.
And in 2020, with celebrity investors from Oprah to Beyonce, Oatly has come a very long way since its inception. It’s the go-to for baristas and plant-based seekers alike, being allergen-friendly, having a superior texture and taste to coconut and soy alternatives, and being made in a more eco-friendly way than almond milk.
Despite the hype, it’s only recently that Oatly has graced the shores of New Zealand thanks to innovative plant-based company, local distributor and online retailer Plant Projects.
For Plant Projects, stocking Oatly is part of a broader conversation about steering away from a reliance on dairy products. A Plant Projects spokesperson says “Oatly has pushed the anti-establishment “Wow No Cow” rhetoric for years now and has paved the way for like-minded kiwi brands we are now seeing in this sector.”
Every litre of oat drink that replaces a litre of cow’s milk contributes to lower resource use and less climate impact. However, Oatly’s mission goes beyond this. Oatly oats are high-quality and gluten-free, sourced from farms that are committed to the highest values of sustainability and renewable farming.
Linda Nordgren, a spokesperson for Oatly, says “it’s not enough for us just to have a product that’s a healthier and more sustainable alternative to cow’s milk. We have to always put pressure on ourselves to become better. Just the fact that we calculate the carbon footprint of our products makes it easier for us to see where in our production process we can improve and become even more sustainable.”
The product is also nutritious, “We enrich our oat drinks with minerals and vitamins. And our unique production method allows us to maintain the soluble fibres found naturally in oats, called beta-glucans. Clinical studies have shown that they can help to lower elevated cholesterol levels and control insulin response (the uptake of sugar in the blood after a meal)”, says Linda.
Oatly is available exclusively from Plant Projects in four delicious flavours – original, barista, organic and chocolate, priced from $5.49. And if you’re wondering how it’s best consumed, Plant Projects enjoys their Oatly poured over a long black made with the stovetop espresso maker.