US – Oatly, the world’s largest producer of oat milk, has announced plans to open a new facility in Fort Worth, Texas in an effort to meet surging demand for oat milk.
The 280,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing center is expected to produce more than 150 million liters of milk annually once completed in 2023.
Oatly’s new factory is the third production facility for the company in North America, joining its facilities in Millville, NJ and Ogden, UT.
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce notes that the new facility will create more than 100 jobs once completed and will have the largest footprint of the company’s three North American facilities
The footprint expansion comes as the oatmilk category more than doubled in the U.S. in 2020 from the prior year according to Nielsen, fueling demand for Oatly’s products to outpace current supply.
Built for the future, the factory will have ample space for expansion even after it starts producing oatmilk.
The facility will be one of nine facilities around the world the company will open by 2023, as it expands to further its mission of growing the plant-based movement and shifting the food system toward one that’s built for planetary and human health.
“Every time someone decides to take their coffee with oatmilk or have an Oatgurt for their afternoon snack, we believe they’re making a choice that’s healthier for them and the planet. And more and more people are making those choices every day,” said Oatly President North America Mike Messersmith.
“We’re excited to break ground on this factory in Fort Worth, which we believe will allow us to meet the growing demand for Oatly’s products and grow our positive impact on the planet.”
Demand for oat milk has indeed been growing particularly in the US and China where the company has an established presence.
According to Food Navigator, four years after entering the US market, Oatly products can now be found in more than 7,500 retail shops and 10,000 coffee shops in the United States (where it generated revenues of $100m in 2020).
The company’s 2020 net sales were up 106.5% year-on-year to US$421.4m, reflecting the strong demand for oat milk products in new and existing markets.
To ensure success of the Texas project, Fort Worth City Council has already approved an incentive package for the project that included five annual grants totaling US$1.09 million.
“Fort Worth is dedicated to being a business-friendly city that is also committed to the health and well-being of our residents,” said Mayor Mattie Parker in a statement.
Earlier, Oatly lost a trademark case against UK-based Glebe Farm Foods where it accused the family run company for attempting to take “unfair advantage” of Oatly’s trademarks with their oat drink called PureOaty.
The high court in London ruled that the similarity between Oatly and PureOaty brand were “at a very general level” adding that if Oatly loses sales, then it would be the result of there being a rival oat drink product on the market and not because the attractiveness of its brand as a badge of origin has been in any way diminished by the defendant’s use of the PureOaty sign.
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