The refrigerated MALK brand – which uses high-pressure-processing (HPP), and no preservatives, thickeners, or emulsifiers - is now available in 1,500+ stores in 24 states including 1,200 Kroger stores, said co-founder and CEO August Vega, who first started pitching the brand to farmers markets in 2014 and has since picked up business with three Whole Foods regions (Southwest, Rocky Mountain, and Northeast), Vitamin Cottage, and scores of independent retailers and cafes.
Kroger is carrying three multi-serve 28oz bottles (unsweetened almond, vanilla almond, and maple), while MALK is now developing exclusive products for Whole Foods Market, including a 28oz coffee product and a seasonal pecan nog, Vega told FoodNavigator-USA.
The 28oz bottles are typically stocked in the dairy case next to premium brands such as Califia Farms and premium dairy products such as goat milk; while the 12oz RTD bottles (unsweetened cashew, chocolate pecan, and pecan cold brew) are positioned in a variety of locations, depending on the retailer.
However, MALK does not really have many direct competitors, said Vega. "We're not really competing with Califia Farms because we're made in a different way, we're organic and cold pressed and small batch and we have a much shorter ingredients list. They're very different products.”
For example, unsweetened almond MALK contains only three ingredients: organic almonds, Himalayan salt, and filtered water, whereas nut milk brands typically contain starch, carrageenan or other thickeners, emulsifiers such as soy or sunflower lecithin, flavors, and added vitamins, said Vega.
“We are on a mission to create a clean food movement and truly believe that simple, organic ingredients create the most delicious food. What started as a homemade, family operation making alternative milk for my family is now a nationally recognized brand."
Consumers are attracted to MALK, first because it has a cool label, and second, because it’s cold-pressed, organic, and the ingredients list contains what they would use if they made nut milk at home, says Vega, who co-owns MALK with her brother Justin Brodnax (who handles production/operations) and cousin Joel Canada (who works with Vega on the sales side). It is manufactured at a company-owned site in Housto, Texas, and undergoes high pressure processing (HPP) at a nearby toll facility.
“I used to make almond milk for my son with nuts and water and salt, because fresh almond milk is just one of the best things I ever tasted, but I didn’t really have time to make it, so I started buying it, but there was nothing on the market that was anything like what I made at home.”
MALK Organics at Food Vision USA in November
MALK co-founder and CEO August Vega will be speaking on our CEO panel at Food Vision USA 2016 in Chicago on November 9-11 along with PureSpoon CEO Alyson Eberle, Veggie Fries CEO David Peters, and Health Warrior CEO Shane Emmett.
Find out more about Food Vision USA HERE.
Read more about MALK Organics HERE.