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13 May 2021
Grab a carton of oat milk and check the ingredients. Up first is water, good for around 85-90% of the contents. No wonder Oatly is aiming for a USD 10 billion valuation for its Nasdaq IPO. But as plant-based milk is soaring, conscious consumers are growing concerned about the environmental costs of packaging and shipping all that water. Berlin-based Blue Farm has developed an easy alternative: get people to add the H2O at home. Its oat milk base is a powder that can be mixed with water to create oat milk.
Compared to cartons, Blue Farm uses 90% less packaging. It also contains fewer ingredients. Because the product doesn't need to be shelf-stable, there's no need for binders, emulsifiers or preservatives. Just oats and salt, in a recyclable plastic pouch.
Powdered milk has a bad rep, probably because the animal version is a fluid product from which water is evaporated and needs to be added back later. So it never tastes like fresh milk. Plant milk, on the other hand, is always a blend of finely ground nuts or grains and water. So if it's mixed with water just before it's used, it's fresher than anything that's been sitting in a plastic and paper carton for weeks or months.
Blue Farm, which started off making fresh plant milks for Berlin cafés, launched its powdered product in December 2020 and started shipping in January. Currently, it uses European oats and German salt, but it's planning to source oats from local farms and is also working on organic certification.
We've said it before: whether it's plant milk or shampoo, sustainably-minded consumers will be happy to take the extra step of adding water if it cuts down on packaging and shipping. With all of the opportunities out there, we're tempted to dive into dilutables ourselves ;-)