With a new range of plant-based oat drinks, pioneer Alpro wants to convince true milk lovers. The name 'Not MLK' speaks for itself...
In its own words, Alpro wants to reinvent plant-based drinks. The manufacturer has been looking for a composition that would provide a similar rich taste, creamy, soft texture and application possibilities as the animal variant. The new drinks, made from oats with proteins from peas, are even "almost indistinguishable in taste", the company claims. Just like actual milk, they come in both full and semi-skimmed versions and can be used in the same way: in a cup of coffee, with breakfast cereals, straight in a glass, etc.
With the name, Alpro wants to make it very clear that this is not milk. However, this choice could also be conceived as a slight provocation: recently, the European Parliament withdrew a proposal that would have prohibited any comparison between dairy products and plant-based drinks. To this day, manufacturers are still not allowed to use terms such as soya milk or plant-based yoghurt. With one less letter, Alpro is pushing the boundaries, you could say.
Alpro is clear about its position: "The packaging is very informative, it just says that the product is not milk, but completely plant-based, which is not prohibited at all by current or future legislation. Moreover, the product is very clear about what it is: namely, a plant-based oat drink. We should not underestimate the consumer: they know the difference and are entitled to accurate information and choice," responds spokesperson Ann De Jaeger. Transparent communication is important for the consumer and for Alpro. There should be no confusion between "milk", "dairy" and "yoghurt" and their plant-based alternatives. There is room for both.
Lucrative growth segment
More and more consumers are opting for plant-based drinks, according to figures from research firm Nielsen. In May 2021, plant-based alternatives reached a market share of 11.4 per cent in the Belgian dairy market, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to 2020. Alpro itself saw its market share grow from 8.2 per cent to 9 per cent.
And this, despite an increasing offer of plant-based alternatives in a lucrative growth segment in which increasingly more big, international players are becoming active. The trendy Swedish company Oatly recently went public and managed to attract famous investors such as Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman and Jay-Z. For its part, food giant Nestlé launched a range of third-generation dairy substitutes last month, also containing pea protein.
After all, plant-based is one of the main trends in the food world. Soon, you can read more about this in the book 'The Future of Food' by RetailDetail founder Jorg Snoeck and editor-in-chief Stefan Van Rompaey. The book will be published at the end of September by Lannoo Campus and Van Duuren Management.