- OWYN, a plant-based beverage maker, raised $7.5 million in a financing round led by Powerplant Ventures, according to BevNET.
- The funding will be used to increase the company's sales and e-commerce teams and for new product innovations. Online sales comprise 35% of the brand’s revenue.
- Additionally, BevNet reported that the company is planning a nationwide expansion of its direct store delivery network as well as a broadening of its retail footprint in places such as Target and Walmart.
Plant-based food and beverage sales are exploding, with global revenue expected to reach $5 billion this year, according to Markets and Markets. OWYN is tapping directly into this growth with its plant-based protein drink line. However OWYN, which stands for Only What You Need, is not alone in looking to benefit from increased consumer interest in the category.
Earlier this week, Nestlé announced the debut of GoodNes, a plant-based version of Nesquik. Danone, Chobani and other companies have rolled out plant-based yogurts made from ingredients such as coconuts, almonds, oats and cashews. Impossible Foods is planning to release Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage, the startup’s first all-new products since the Impossible Burger launched in 2016. And a few months after Nestlé made its debut in the increasingly crowded plant-based beef space with Awesome Grounds and Awesome Burger, the world's largest food company said in December it is bringing the ingredient to its DiGiorno and Stouffer’s brands.
For OWYN, this infusion of capital will help it expand the company’s product line. Right now, the beverage maker is focusing on protein drinks, and it has carved out a niche catering to consumers looking to have optimal nutrition on-the-go.
Although BevNET reported that no new products will be released until the latter half of 2020, creamers and additional milk alternatives were categories that piqued the interest of OWYN president Mark Olivieri. If the company does chose to introduce these products it will find itself pitted against big-name CPG companies with even deeper financial pockets. The $7.5 million in funding will help OWYN compete.
The brand’s focus on allergy-free products is what has made it stand out. Moving forward, the company should be carful not to release products that are similar to what's already out on the market. Such a strategy could quickly cause the brand to become lost among the competition. Instead, OWYN should continue its strategy of focusing on the top eight food allergens in any new product launch. A growing number of consumers are actively avoiding these culprit allergens and will be on the lookout for brands calling out the fact that they are free-from any contact with them.
There also is a possibility that OWYN will branch out into other product categories beyond the drinks and powders it already has for sale. Dasha Shor, a global food analyst at Mintel, previously told Food Dive that just 7% of mayonnaise, 8% of dressings and vinegar and 2.5% of cheese products had “vegan/no animal ingredients” claims. Tapping into one of those categories could be a strategy to help OWYN gain visibility and stand out from its competitors.