ASIA – Proterra Investment Partners Asia has expanded its presence in Asia’s dairy sector by investing undisclosed amounts into the high-growth oat milk and yogurt segments.

The private equity’s first investment was made into Simple Love (also known as Jian Ai), a fast-growing fresh yogurt brand in China, focusing on the premium low-temperature segment.

Simple Love has grown to 2 percent market share (6th largest) in China, with sales growing at a compound annual growth rate of 109 percent over the past five years based on the company’s sales data.

The company recently raised 800 million yuan (US$124 million) in a Series B round in which Proterra, which the Asian arm of the global food and agribusiness private equity fund manager Proterra Investment Partners, participated in.

The company has also completed the construction of its new production facility in Hebei Province with 11 production lines and a total capacity of 500 metric tonnes per day.

The second investment was made in a newly established oat milk business out of Singapore and Indonesia with a product that has been “developed with the Asian consumer in mind.”

Proterra Asia is the lead investor in this company, which the team believes has the opportunity to become a major oat milk brand in Asia, alongside current global market heavyweight Oatly.

Proterra’s investment in the Asian company is timely as the plant-based milk sector is expanding rapidly in Asia and is forecast to become a US$12.3 billion market by 2024, with oat milk the fastest-growing category.

Demand for allergen-free milk and Increasing health-conscious consumers seeking health-beneficial beverages that are free from synthetic material and are GMO-free is expected to drive this demand for oat milk.

“The rise of the Asian consumer continues to present exciting thematic trends in premiumization, health and nutrition and sustainability given rapid urbanization, a growing middle class, and the evolving consumption patterns of Millennials and Gen-Zs,” says Tai Lin, managing partner of Proterra Asia.

The current investment continue Proterra Asia’s  food strategy which involves investing across the entire food value chain in the region.

The company has a particular focus on the fast-growing and high returns-oriented branded food sector.

In late October last year, San Francisco-based Eat Just had teamed up with Proterra Asia to develop a plant protein production facility in Singapore that will supply Just Egg — its vegan alternative to eggs — in Asia.

Under the terms of the deal, a consortium led by Proterra will invest up to US$100 million, while Eat Just will invest up to US$20 million to build and operate its first Asia facility, which is also its largest.

 Last month, Proterra Asia, whose investment ticket sizes range between $30 million and $50 million, raised at least $35.7 million for its third Asia fund.

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