US – Multinational beverage company Molson Coors is set to launch a plant-based milk brand as part of its audacious plan to move beyond beer and emerge as a total beverage company.

Known as Golden Wing Barley Milk, the new plant-based milk is made with five all-natural ingredients, including non-GMO barley, sunflower oil, pink Himalayan salt, and shiitake mushroom extract.

Set to launch in May, Golden Wing Barley Milk is the latest move by the beer giant known for Coors and Miller to grow its emerging growth division to reach US$1 billion in revenue by 2023

Additionally, it ensures provides opportunities for growth amid a shift by consumers toward other beverage offerings while also giving the beverage maker a stake in the trendy, fast-growing plant-based category.

Brian Schmidt, brand manager with Molson Coors’ non-alcoholic division, said, “We wanted to explore the building of our own brands in our non-alcohol portfolio, and in looking to unlock that opportunity…., we think that this is the next big play in the plant-based milk category.”

Meanwhile, Molson Coors is set to face competitors in these crowded and rapidly evolving plant-based milk including Danone which has been a giant in the plant-based dairy segment since its 2016 acquisition of WhiteWave Foods.

The French dairy company also launched its “plant-based 2.0” platform last year with reformulating, more dairy-like alternatives: Silk Nextmilk and So Delicious Wondermilk.

Sweden’s Oatly, which went public in 2021, and Chilean plant-based company NotCo which recently expanded into the U.S. with its NotMilk products are other worthy competitors that Molson Coors will have to face in the race to dominate the market.

The move by Molson Coors to start distribution comes at a time when research from Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), The Good Food Institute (GFI), and SPINS, shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2% in 2021.

This is a rise over a record year of growth in 2020, bringing the total plant-based market value to an all-time high of US$7.4 billion.

The groups said the category is benefiting from product innovation and expanded merchandising space and assortment which is helping earn more in market share among dairy products.

The research also acknowledges Millennials and Gen Z, spend more on plant-based foods because they are motivated by an interest in foods that are better for their health and deliver positive environmental impact and social responsibility.

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