The dairy-free milk alternative oat milk is fast becoming a cult favorite, and Swedish brand Oatly is among those leading the pack. Some big names are taking note — including Oprah, Jay-Z, and Howard Shultz, who are part of a group funneling more than $200 million into the brand.
This deal, which involves the sale of a 10 percent stake in the company, brings the valuation of Oatly to $2 billion. CEO of the company, Toni Petersson, told Cheddar in an exclusive interview that he plans to use the new funding to build on their momentum, and "continue the growth journey that we've been on for a few years now."
Oatly's rise in popularity has been a rapid one. Only 10 coffee shops in the United States featured the plant-based milk brand in 2017. By 2019, that number had grown to 3,500 coffee shops. Part of this new funding will be used to continue the company's expansion in reaction to its exponential growth.
"It's been crazy — completely crazy," Petersson told Cheddar. "We started off in 2018 with just one factory in Sweden, and mid next year we're going to have five factories on three continents, two of which will be in the U.S. And we don't think that's enough."
When Oatly's oat milk began gaining traction among the coffee shop patrons of the world, it quickly began selling out at grocery stores, and price gouging of the product began to skyrocket on e-commerce websites like Amazon.
If Petersson has his way, Oatly will soon be even bigger, and "more than just an oat milk brand, more like a generational brand."