- Harmless Harvest has branched out from organic coconut water and snack drinks into organic dairy-free yogurt products. The California company said in a release its new spoonable and drinkable yogurts are sourced from the same organic Thai coconuts it uses for its existing product lines.
- More of the coconut is used to make the water and yogurt alternative products, and no gums are used to thicken the texture, the company said. According to Food Navigator, Harmless Harvest also uses a microfiltration process rather than thermal pasteurization.
- The new plant-based yogurt products are available nationwide at Whole Foods Market stores and other natural grocers. The 8-ounce yogurt drinks, which come in Strawberry, Mango and Original Unsweetened varieties, have a suggested retail price of $2.99. The 24-ounce Original Unsweetened is $6.99. The 4.4-ounce cups, in Plain, Strawberry, Vanilla and Blueberry flavors, have a suggested retail price of $2.99.
This move into plant-based yogurt makes sense for Harmless Harvest on several levels. The company already sources organic Thai coconuts for its water and snack drink products, so it scores sustainability points through "further living its brand promise to always consider its impact from seed to shelf," CEO Ben Mand said in the press release. This position builds on Harmless Harvest's Fair for Life certification, which is given to sustainable businesses supporting social, agricultural and environmental improvement.
Besides producing less coconut waste, the company's new yogurt alternatives are tapping into the booming plant-based trend. According to UBS, the plant-based protein and meat alternative market is expected to leap from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030.
This impressive growth will increase demand for dairy alternatives, according to Fior Markets. Their global market is projected to grow from $15.5 billion in 2017 to $38.9 billion by 2025, for a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% during that period.
Harmless Harvest's new product lineup also gives the company an opportunity to stand out by using the proprietary multi-step microfiltration process it shifted to in 2016 instead of the more common high-pressure processing. The company noted at the time using microfiltration allowed it to reduce the amount of PET plastic in its bottles by about 24%, while maintaining flavor and safety. Some advocates say PET in beverage bottles can pose health risks.
The company has the benefit of association with yogurt giant Danone, whose venture capital arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, participated in a $30 million investment round in 2018. Danone is also getting into plant-based yogurt alternatives — most recently with its dairy-free Activia option made with almond milk.
Harmless Harvest is entering a crowded dairy-free yogurt market. Major players are already in the space, including Chobani, with its non-dairy and oat-based products, as well as Daiya and General Mills' Oui by Yoplait, which is expected to launch nationwide this month.
For Harmless Harvest, positioning itself as a greener, more sustainable and less wasteful option — as well as being organic — could give it a leg up on other players. However, the $2.99 suggested retail price for 4.4 ounces of yogurt might be a little steep for some consumers. Forager Project's 5.3-ounce, dairy-free, organic yogurt is currently $1.99 at Whole Foods, while 5.3 ounces of Kite Hill's non-organic, almond milk-based yogurt is $1.97 on Amazon.