ImpactAlpha, July 15 – Sweden’s Oatly was an outlier in the 1990s, when soy milk dominated non-dairy milk options. The company’s oat-based milk alternative has become a household name in Europe and the U.S. with growing consumer demand for plant-based food products and environmental concerns over meat production and livestock farming.
Blackstone led Oatly’s $200 million raise to help it expand across Europe, the U.S. and Asia. While not a traditional impact investor, the $538 billion investment firm can “play an essential role in order to create real sustainable change,” Oatly’s Toni Petersson said. “It is my belief that capital has to turn green and do so for the right reasons.”
Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Jay Z’s Roc Nation joined the round, along with Orkila Capital, Rabo Corporate Investments and Verlinvest-CR Joint Ventures.
Oatly’s nine-figure raise follows a $300 million round of financing for alt-protein company Perfect Day. The Good Food Institute reports grocery sales of plant-based foods that replace animal products have hit $5 billion, up 29% in two years.
Oatly’s sustainability report (from 2018) emphasizes its positive carbon impact from the replacement of animal dairy, as well as company practices around food waste, suppliers and packaging. It also outlines “risks” and areas where the company can improve, including gender equity within company management.