Oatly just raised $200 million at a $2 billion valuation, effective selling a 10% stake in the company. The Blackstone Group led the round of fundraising, along with other backers – Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, Roc Nation, Natalie Portman, Orkila Capital, and Rabo Corporate Investments. There is speculation that Oatly will be moving towards an initial public offering within the next 12 to 18 months.
Why does this matter?
A 2018 University of Oxford study has shown that milk alternatives are better use of resources than for dairy. The production of Oatly’s oat milk results in 80% lower green house gas emissions and 60% less energy use compared to cow’s milk. The Oxford study goes so far to specify that oat milk has the least environmental impact, compared to other alternative milks, in terms of emissions, land use, and water use.
Oatly’s valuation forecasts the growing popularity of plant-based foods. Consumers are more mindful of which products they purchase and consume, opting for healthier and more eco-friendly products. Beyond Meat is one company to refer to, as they went public last year (NASDAQ: BYND). The company went public at $25 per share, hit an all-time high of $222 and is now around $130.
Sales of plant-based foods that replace animal products have grown 29% in the past two years to $5 billion. Plant-based milk represents $2 billion of those sales, and has experienced a 14% growth in sales over the last two years. As oat milk is more environmentally friendly than almond milk, which drove the most sales in 2019, this investment will accelerate oat milk’s growth into the market.
Plant-based milk is only one growing corner of the plant-based food market. Consumer awareness will only continue to accelerate the plant-based food market, and even other markets, such as electronics.
About The Author
Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His original assignment was to maintain and update facility safety documentation for all facilities on-site, and perform risk analysis. Over time, his role has expanded to leading continuous improvement efforts through product management.
Concurrently, Daniel volunteers with Techstars, helping organize startup weekends, and with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, organizing events on the local and national levels of the organization. He also volunteers with One World, and previously with Powerhouse Ventures, to source and screen startups for potential investment.
Daniel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis, and recently completed coursework in energy innovation from Stanford. His passion is at the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and business.