Oatly, the Swedish sustainable food company announced yesterday that it has further bolstered its plant-based movement through an agreement to invest $200 million in equity led by Blackstone Growth.
Additional investors in the funding round include: Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z’s Roc Nation, Natalie Portman, and former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, among others. Oatly’s founders will also be reinvesting in the company’s growth by providing additional capital.
“Since we re-launched our brand in 2013, our focus has been to positively impact society by enabling people to change their lives with better, more environmentally responsible food choices, and in so doing, re-shape the food system to better contribute to the future of the planet,” Oatly’s CEO Toni Petersson said in a statement.
The demand for a more sustainable food system is global and growing fast, with much of the shift being led by Millennials and Generation Z. Oatly’s patented original oatmilk created the fast-growing category and the company is a leader in the plant-based food space, with its products available in more than 50,000 locations in 20 countries.
The injection of capital will fund the company’s overall growth plans, which include expansion in current markets, new production plants, and related jobs in Europe, the United States, and Asia. By bringing facilities closer to consumers, the company will make the Oatly product range more readily available to the growing community of health and environmentally conscious consumers worldwide.
Since being founded in Sweden in the 1990s, Oatly has always been at the forefront of the rapidly growing plant-based movement. As part of the company’s overarching plan to reduce the C02e footprint of the food industry by shifting consumers’ consumption choices, the company last year added a carbon footprint label to their products in Europe. By making that data available, Oatly enabled consumers to consider the carbon footprint of their food choices before they buy, just as they do with nutritional content. The label was accompanied by a challenge to the larger industry titled “Hey, food industry: show us your numbers!”
The Oatly campaign delivered several industry-changing results:
• Multiple retailers moved to enhanced product labelling, showing carbon footprints;
• The Deutsche Bundestag (German Parliament) agreed to consider mandating enhancing carbon footprint product labelling into law; and
• Food giant Unilever committed to begin carbon labelling for 70,000 of its food products.
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