Will you drink oat milk if Ajinkya Rahane tells you to? OATEY's founders seem to think so

Ajinkya Rahane, who has come on board as investor and brand ambassador is expected to play a crucial role in persuading consumers to make the shift to healthy beverages.

By  Indrani BoseAug 3, 2023 12:21 PM
Will you drink oat milk if Ajinkya Rahane tells you to? OATEY's founders seem to think so
Rahane’s association with OATEY allows the brand to reach a wider audience, both domestically and internationally, amplifying its brand awareness and impact. (Image sourced from Moneycontrol)

Headquartered at Bangalore, OATEY, a plant-based dairy alternative brand is the brainchild of Ankush Jamadagni and Prashant Chauhan. The brand which was founded in 2021, recently announced a strategic partnership with cricketer Ajinkya Rahane as an investor and brand ambassador.

At the heart of OATEY's offerings lies the Millet Milk made from Jowar, Ragi, Lobia and Amaranth. For every litre consumed, OATEY spares 600 litres of water, 2,100 grams of CO2 emissions, and 90 square feet of land (vs the traditional dairy milk). OATEY reflects Jamadagni’s commitment to create a radical shift in the way people think about and consume dairy products.

In a chat with Storyboard18, Ankush Jamadagni, Co-founder, OATEY discusses influencer collaboration, market size of the healthy beverage category, needs of the health conscious consumer and the trends, and shares how the plant-based dairy alternative has mobilised the funds raised.

Excerpts

How is the brand going to leverage this partnership with Ajinkya Rahane to grow the business?

In a category that is relatively nascent with limited awareness, influencers and icons play a crucial role in rapidly spreading education and awareness. For decades, the animal agriculture industry has been revered as healthy and sacred, but this industry stands as one of the most broken industries in terms of health quotient. It has had a severe impact on the environment, and animals. To encourage the adoption of healthier and sustainable lifestyles, we seek humble and disciplined icons who have not only excelled in their fields but also possess strong internal values.

This closely aligns with Ajinkya Rahane, whose influence and credibility can effectively inform and persuade the masses in a far more effective manner. People need to listen and get aware from someone they will believe, ten brands pouring into marketing will also not move the needle like a value-based sports icon would.

Why has the brand chosen Ajinkya Rahane as an investor and ambassador?

The brand has chosen Ajinkya Rahane for several compelling reasons that align perfectly with OATEY’s vision, values, and market positioning: Rahane, being a renowned international cricketer, epitomizes fitness and a healthy lifestyle. His association with OATEY as an investor and brand ambassador reinforces the brand's commitment to promote health and wellness through plant-based dairy alternatives.

As a respected and accomplished athlete, Rahane brings credibility and trust to OATEY'S products. Consumers often look up to influencers and sports personalities for recommendations, and Rahane's endorsement lends authenticity to the brand's message. Being an internationally recognized cricketer, he enjoys a massive fan following not just in India but across the world. His association with OATEY allows the brand to reach a wider audience, both domestically and internationally, amplifying its brand awareness and impact.

Rahane's personal values and ethics are in line with OATEY'S mission of promoting sustainable and cruelty-free living. His endorsement reflects the brand's genuine dedication to offering ethical and environmentally friendly dairy alternatives. As a popular figure, Rahane's endorsement has the potential to influence consumer choices positively.

What’s the market size for the healthy beverage category in India? What is OATEY’s market share and where is much of the business coming from?

The Indian Dairy Alternatives Market stood at $ 94.92 million in FY2021, growing with a CAGR of 11.36 percent to reach a value of $ 175.36 million by FY2027. The market size for the healthy beverage category in India is witnessing significant growth. The demand for healthier and plant-based alternatives, especially in the dairy substitute segment, was on the rise due to increasing health awareness, sustainability concerns, and dietary preferences. - this stands around $ 3.8 billion mark, globally.

The majority of OATEY'S business is coming from online marketplaces, B2B accounts (HoReCa sector) and some corporates.

It would be too early to put a percentage on the market share of OATEY considering we have been commercially available for less than a year. What we can certainly disclose is that amongst all the brands in the market, we got rated as number 1 brand in oat milk in India. Here is a link of the blind tasting exercise conducted by D2P Consultancy -

How is OATEY bridging the current market need?

OATEY, as a plant-based brand, addresses the current market needs by offering premium grade oat milk and millet milk, which are free from lactose, hormones, and cholesterol. OATEY'S products cater to lactose-intolerant individuals, vegans, and health-conscious consumers looking for nutritious and environmentally friendly options.

What are the consumer trends in this category and how is OATEY latching on to them?

Consumer trends in the healthy beverage category include a shift towards plant-based diets, increased focus on sustainability, and a preference for clean-label and natural products.

How is OATEY latching on to these trends?

OATEY has latched on to these trends by positioning itself as a vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainable gourmet product. By using high-quality ingredients and emphasizing environmental benefits, OATEY aligns with the evolving consumer preferences.

How has the brand mobilised the funds raised?

OATEY has raised Rs 50 lakhs through friends and family investments. OATEY'S mobilisation of funds raised through friends and family investors has been primarily directed towards product development, production, distribution expansion, marketing initiatives, and talent acquisition. Investing in these areas would be crucial for driving brand visibility, enhancing product quality, and scaling the business. The brand is registering an average growth rate of 57 percent month-over-month (MoM) and 30 percent average growth rate quarter on quarter (QoQ).

From a marketing lens, what is the brand’s current focus? Could you please highlight the key strategies?

OATEY'S current focus revolves around raising brand awareness, establishing itself as a credible player in the plant-based beverage market, and creating an emotional connection with consumers. The brand has delved deep into social media, and leveraged online ads, and influencer collaborations to reach target audiences and promote the products.

OATEY also depends on content marketing for creating engaging content to educate consumers about the benefits of plant-based beverages and the brand's commitment to sustainability. We also collaborate with retail chains and distributors to expand the brand's presence and accessibility to consumers. Moreover, we offer promotions, discounts and product sampling to encourage trial and conversion.

How much are you investing in marketing?

Marketing budgets are dynamic and can vary depending on factors such as brand maturity, expansion plans and marketing campaigns. At this stage it would be unfair to put a figure here. Having said that, we see ourselves allocating approximately 30 percent of the funding budget towards this.

First Published on Aug 3, 2023 12:21 PM

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