Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) is getting set to launch its plant-based milk product OatUP state-wide in Western Australia ahead of the Christmas holiday period, which typically sees higher food and beverage sales.
The regenerative food and farming company today announced the first commercial shipment of the “regenerative, carbon neutral’ oat milk product has been shipped to WA and is expected to be launched “immediately”.
It added that current demand indicates strong sales for this initial shipment with “additional production and shipments underway to meet this expected demand”.
Under a prime distribution deal, the state’s leading specialty food and beverage distributor European Foods will market and sell OatUP across its extensive network of more than 500 sales outlets including cafes, restaurants and supermarkets.
“The state-wide launch alongside European Foods will significantly expand the number of restaurants, caterers, venues and cafes with OatUP customers in WA during the Christmas period,” Wide Open Agriculture managing director Dr Ben Cole said.
Y Group (the owner of European Foods) chief executive officer Miguel Buccellato called OatUP “one of the most exciting new products to hit the market this year”.
“We are excited to partner with Wide Open Agriculture and OatUP to bring WA’s first oat milk to market,” he said.
Following this WA-wide launch, an eastern states and national launch is lined up for the first quarter of 2021.
The carbon neutral difference
In October, OatUP received carbon neutral certification from the Australian Government’s Climate Active group, which recognises the plant-based milk product as creating zero net greenhouse emissions through its production and sales.
The accreditation followed an official audit of OatUP’s production ecosystem and allows Wide Open Agriculture to use the official Carbon Neutral trademark on its packaging along with “carbon neutral certified” in future branding.
Wide Open Agriculture said it and European Foods believe this certification will ensure the product stands out and differentiates from competitors at the point-of-sale.
According to Wide Open Agriculture, OatUP has been praised for its taste, ability to foam and its environmental credentials during a recent exclusive soft launch with agreements now in place for the milk to be stocked in over 20 retailers including national supermarket chain IGA.
Growing commercial opportunities
According to Wide Open Agriculture, the WA launch is expected to bolster the company’s revenue base and there is also “significant commercial opportunity” to launch in the eastern states and Asian markets such as Japan and Singapore, where demand for WA oats and their value-added products have been proven.
“Wide Open Agriculture is currently in early-stage discussions with a number of potential east coast distributors with networks across key markets and have set aside a number of samples which are being prepared for shipping to potential South East Asian customers,” the company stated.
It said it will also harness its established and specialised direct-to-consumer distribution platform, online website Dirty Clean Food, as an instant sales channel for OatUP, targeting a growing community of health and environmentally-conscious consumers.
According to Wide Open Agriculture, the plant-based milk industry is worth $2.8 billion globally with oat milk being the fastest growing category.
The company is also exploring potential opportunities to develop, package and sell other oat-based drinks with new flavours and nutritional profiles.