Pioneering oats: Start-up Bevry aims to be the ‘Oatly’ of India with new product development pipeline
The company claims to be the first brand in India to manufacture and sell oat milk in the country.
According to Bevry’s co-founder Pradeep Sanker, the company has taken Sweden’s Oatly as inspiration.
The company was established in 2019 by three co-founders, who were studying in Australia at that time.
It was around the same time that Oatly entered Australia, capturing much interest for its oat milk beverages.
According to Sanker, the plant-based dairy alternative market was growing in India, where plant-based milk made from soy, rice, and hazelnut were popular, but the oat milk market was relatively untouched.
“I think it's because oat milk is much more complicated than other milk alternatives, in terms of manufacturing.”
So Bevry sought to capitalise this trend in India, spending about 10 months on R&D before officially launching in November 2020.
It currently retails three oat milk products in original, chocolate and vanilla variations.
Bevry is set to launch a cold brew coffee series with oat milk later this month, comprising four SKUs of classic (original), vanilla latte, mocha, and hazelnut.
“Our oat milk has a creamy texture and coffee is very intense so combining both will give a frothy, comforting feeling.”
Bevry is also working on expanding the product range to include ready-to-eat oat meal, oat yoghurt, and dried fruits which will be launched at the end of the year.
According to Sanker, the biggest challenges during its R&D was developing a product with good stability and shelf life.
The firm initially started out with a shelf life of just 10 days, but quickly realised a longer shelf life was needed, especially in India where logistics require a longer period of time.
They eventually settled on a nine-month shelf life through the use of retort process, without the need for added preservatives.
In addition, Sanker said the minerals present in the oat milk such as dipotassium phosphate help achieve stability.
Bevry’s oat milk beverages are made from oat milk (water, oats 10%), sunflower oil and minerals.
The oats from sourced from Australia, while other ingredients are obtained from India locally.
Bevry’s oat milk can be stored at ambient temperature, or refrigerated, depending on the facilities available in the retail store.
The firm also worked on the texture of oat milk, to better cater to the local palate.
According to Sanker, most imported oat milk products have a watery mouthfeel, while Indian consumers tend to prefer a thicker texture.
“We wanted our products to be smoother and creamier, because the Indian palate enjoys a heavier texture, especially in their beverages.” Take the example of commonly consumed drinks in India like yoghurt-based lassi, which is similar to a milkshake in texture.
Sales channels and expansion plans
Bevry is targeting the tier one population with its oat milk, and not only vegetarians, vegan, dairy or nut intolerant people.
“Everybody needs to have access to products like this which is nutritionally good, affordable and better for the environment,” Sanker said.
The oat milk products are priced at 400 rupees (US$5.50) for four bottles (200mL each), similar to imported oat milk brands which sell for around 350 to 400 rupees for one liter in Tetra pack.
Bevry’s oat milk are packaged in glass bottle, which can be recycled.
The products are available on Bevry’s online store and most online grocery platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, VeganDukan, VeganMall, LBB (Little Black Book) and Bigbasket.
They are also sold in hospitals and soon to retail in supermarket chain Nature’s Basket.
“Our goal is to reach consumers in the tier one cities in India before considering exporting the products,” Sanker said.
Bevry is eyeing the South East Asia, Oceania, Middle East, US and Europe markets for future expansion.