Plant-based creamers on fire with oat and blends leading the pack

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: nutpods
Photo Credit: nutpods

Related tags plant-based creamers SPINS Chobani nutpods oatmilk

Dollar sales of refrigerated liquid plant-based creams and creamers were up +25.8% year-on-year to $527.4m in measured US retail channels* in the year to July 10, 2022, while unit sales were up +16.1%, led by strong growth in blends and ‘other’ (which includes oat) and declines in almond and soy creamers, according to new data from SPINS shared with FoodNavigator-USA.

There was a +22.1% increase in blended and +132.9% increase in dollar sales of ‘other’ products, while almond creamers saw a +4.5% increase in sales and soy dropped -3.6% over the same period. Dollar sales for coconut plant-based creamers grew +12.7%.

Unit sales were also up strongly, with refrigerated blended products +11.4% and 'other' products +120.3%, while unit sales of almond (-3.1%) and soy creamers (-14.7%) declined.

Dollar sales of shelf-stable plant-based creams and creamers were down -1.3% year-on-year to $36.5m in US retail, with unit sales down -5%.

The key segments 52 weeks to July 10, 2022 (dollar sales, US retail):

  • Total plant-based cream & creamers: +23.6% to $563.822m
  • Refrigerated plant-based cream & creamers: +25.8.1% to $527.361m
  • Shelf-stable plant-based cream & creamers: -1.3% to $36.460m

The key sub-segments 52 weeks to July 10, 2022 (dollar sales, US retail):

  • #1 Almond cream & creamers: +4.5% to $219.472m
  • #2 Other (includes oat) cream & creamers: +132% to $134.450m
  • #3 Blend cream & creamers: +22.1% to $91.274m
  • #4 Coconut cream & creamers: +12.7% to $56.987m
  • #5 Soy cream & creamers: -3.6% to $25.177m

Coffee consumption led to early and strong adoption of plant-based creamers, say nutpods and Chobani

Speaking to plant-based creamer brand nutpods, which makes multiple varieties of creamers including blends (almond + coconut blends and oat creamers) to understand what’s driving the growth and consumer interest in this category, founder and CEO Madeline Haydon said that consumer adoption of plant-based creamers was first sparked by in-home coffee consumption which drove many to look into plant-based creamers as an alternative to milk and dairy creamers.

Tracking along with the rest of the plant-based cream category, Haydon shared that the company has seen its market share increase from 7% to 12% in the past three years and that is now firmly the #2 brand in the overall plant-based creamer category.

"With our scan growth of 47% in the past 52 weeks, nutpods continues to outpace the overall category. As natural products consumers tend to shop more of the perimeter vs. center store we have seen our refrigerated products nearly double the category growth rate growing at 62% in the past 52 weeks. The rising tide of better-for-you products is filling the sails of all brands and nutpods is proud to lead the charge in our category," ​she added.

'The taste and texture of oat milk works really well with coffee'

Meredith Madden, chief marketing and category officer of Chobani, which launched its oat milk products in 2019 and then expanded into oat milk coffee creamers in January 2022, likened its entrance into the growing category to the company’s earliest days of bringing Greek yogurt to the US market.

“We’re constantly looking at differences between the oat milk itself vs. the oat creamer and how it’s being used. The taste and texture of oat milk works really well with coffee, so you saw this huge uptick of oat milk usage within any café environment (which eventually trickled down into at-home consumption,”​ Madden previously told FoodNavigator-USA​, who also pointed out that the consumption occasions associated with coffee are now much more flexible from the consumers’ point of view leading to further growth of plant-based creamers.

“Two years ago, when you’re thinking about coffee, and you’re thinking about creamer, you’re thinking about morning and hot coffee. Now, we’re seeing people extend coffee much further into their day,”​ said Madden.

Looking to the future of the category, Haydon added, "The only constant is change so for our category I expect new entrants with new benefits, delicious new flavors that will continue to disrupt the category and new emerging bases like oat will continue to grow. I am 100% confident however that the category will continue to grow."

 *Source​​: SPINS natural enhanced and conventional (IRI multi-outlet) channels, 52 weeks to July 10, 2022, excludes Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and convenience stores.

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