Iconic plant-based beverage brand Silk made a name for itself when its soymilk entered mass retailers in 1978. Its portfolio has since expanded to include other plant-derived beverages like cashewmilk, coconutmilk, and most significantly almondmilk, which is now the brand's largest segment.
Silk is owned by Danone SA subsidiary Danone North America, which was before April this year known as DanoneWave after Danone's acquisition of WhiteWave completed in 2017.
While sales for soymilk overall—the product that made Silk a household name—slumped -7.9% in the year ending August 25, 2018 (according to Nielsen), it’s only logical that the company’s next launch would be oatmilk, which Pinterest revealed was the year’s hottest new favorite dairy-alternative. The online vision board website reported that searches for oatmilk on its site went up 186% year-over-year.
Additionally, a report by online grocery retailer FreshDirect proclaimed "nut milk is out, while oatmilk is storming in."
The report said: "Oatmilk is more sustainable and not as water intensive as other non-dairy milks, while also more abundant and inexpensive, which will help keep high-quality products at lower costs. Oatmilk will continue to evolve in 2019 into new dairy-alternative products, such as oat-based yogurts and cheeses,”
According to Nikita McKinney, senior brand manager for Silk: “Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and Silk is attuned to that,” she told FoodNavigator-USA. “We’re proud to offer great tasting products across many types of dairy-free offerings.”
The rise of oatmilk
Nielsen recorded significant growth for oatmilk in the 52 weeks ending August 25, 2018. With a 32.5% increase year-over-year, it took second place after plant-based blends (+45.4%), and ahead of almondmilk (+11.5%) and coconutmilk (+1%).
While oatmilk has garnered a sizeable chunk of the plant-based milk market in some European markets, it’s new to many consumers in the US, where there has been a flurry of recent launches from Oatly, Planet Oat, Elmhurst, Thrive Market, Pacific Foods, Happy Planet, and Quaker [coming in January], coupled with thicker products such as ‘oatgurt’ from Hälsa.
“People love oatmilk because it offers a smooth, creamy texture, inspired by dairy milk — making it an easy and delicious addition to your morning cup of joe. With the introduction of Silk’s Oat Yeah oatmilk, people can now get that same delicious oat taste at home, whether in their cereal, a creamy smoothie, or their favorite savory recipe,” she added.
“Additionally, oatmilk is a great new dairy-free option for non-dairy drinkers who are allergic to nuts such as almonds, cashews or coconut.”
Oat Yeah will be available at retailers nationwide, including Target, Walmart, Publix, and Sprouts, for a suggested retail price of $4.49 per half-gallon carton.