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HomeNewsHow lactose intolerancy made a successful business for OatMlk; now this brand...

How lactose intolerancy made a successful business for OatMlk; now this brand sells 70,000 bottles a month

The brand is expecting to grow 3X by December.

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While you were chugging your glass full of milk, two lactose-intolerant people were having rough days when they realized white drink, and its by-products were not their friends. This personal challenge nipped them, as they couldn’t enjoy dairy products to the fullest—not even ice cream. Rishabh Gupta, Co-Founder of OatMlk, along with his partner, Akash Wadhwani, turned this personal discomfort into an entrepreneurial journey, propelling Oatmlk from selling 700 bottles a month to a staggering 70,000.

The Genesis of OatMlk

India, a dairy-loving nation, where ghee, cheese, and paneer are culinary staples, was an unlikely birthplace for an oat milk revolution. Gupta’s own journey of realizing his lactose intolerance in London and his subsequent discovery of oat milk sparked the idea.

“The seed of OatMlk was planted over countless cups of oat milk coffee. When we were deciding on what other things we could do, our conversation transcended from ‘why is no one doing this?’ to ‘why don’t we do this?’” Gupta recalls.

Continue Exploring: Plant-based milk brand OatMIK sees 21x revenue surge, eyes global expansion

From its humble beginnings in November 2021, OatMlk has seen exponential growth. So far, OatMlk’s has gained a successful funding round of INR 1.17 crores and now has roadmap of scaling production and maintaining healthy cash flows.

“We started with around 700 bottles in our first month. Now, we’re selling over 60,000 to 70,000 bottles a month,” Gupta reveals. This growth is driven by a strategic mix of B2B and B2C channels, with a significant portion coming from retail and the hospitality sector.

Today, competing on a global scale, OatMlk has ventured into exports, standing tall against established international brands. “Being able to produce a world-class product in India and export it globally is a huge achievement. We’re seeing increasing interest from abroad, which validates our quality and potential,” says Gupta.

Market challenges

However, this growth doesn’t come without any challenges. One of the biggest hurdles for OatMlk was educating the market. Gupta explains, “For mass consumption, we need to reach a price point similar to dairy milk, which is challenging. However, consumers willing to pay a premium for healthier or more sustainable options are growing.” This awareness and willingness to pay more for quality alternatives are crucial for OatMlk’s growth.

Navigating price and consumer preferences are other challenges for the startup. Given how price sensitive Indians are, price remains a critical factor in expanding the customer base for OatMlk. Gupta notes, “Mass consumption can only be achieved at around 70 bucks a liter. However, those willing to switch to premium options are more flexible with prices. As plant-based milk prices decrease and dairy prices increase, we expect this gap to narrow, boosting our market share.”

Continue Exploring: Dairy brand Sid’s Farm raises $10M in Series A funding led by Omnivore and Narotam Sekhsaria’s Family Office

Growing Market and Conscious Consumers

With this, according to Gupta, despite India’s deep-rooted dairy culture, the plant-based market is burgeoning. “The plant-based category is around INR 500 to 600 crore, still small compared to the massive dairy market. But we’ve seen significant growth, doubling every three to five years,” says Gupta. This growth is driven by a segment of conscious consumers, particularly in urban areas, who are increasingly aware of lactose intolerance and the health benefits of plant-based diets.

“India is at the cusp of significant growth in the plant-based segment, mirroring trends we’ve seen in the West,” Gupta states.

This has given a boost to OatMlk’s sales, as the company is witnessing a surge in offline distribution. “People are adopting oat milk products and are willing to spend on things. And that’s what we intend to capitalize on in the next 6 months as well,” he says.

Expecting a 3X growth

As India enters a festive season, Oatmlk is poised for a surge in demand. With 40% of sales from retail and the rest from hospitality, Gupta anticipates a busy period. “We see a lot of demand during festive months. Our focus is on meeting this demand while continuing to educate consumers about the benefits of plant-based alternatives,” he says.

Moving on, the brand is looking at expanding to few more countries, and lot more growth from Horeca and retail side. “We’re expecting to grow 3X by December,” he concludes.

Continue Exploring: OatMlk targets US market entry following successful debut in Singapore, aims to double international revenue contribution

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