Sizing down to make it big: Ulu Hye revamps size of dairy-free mylk base jars amid retail push
Ulu Hye established an entirely new plant-based dairy category with the invention of its dairy-free mylk bases, made with nuts and seeds, but all along its products have only been available in larger jars which would contain enough product to make 10L of mylk in total.
Having made its mark in the Australian market via health and bulk food stores as well as online platforms, the firm is now looking to enter major supermarkets as well as start exporting and has launched new ‘Mini Mylk Bases’ which can be made into 3L of mylk in total.
“The mylk bases are actually a very complex product to create, so we started with just the 10L jars only because that gave us enough margin for operations,” Ulu Hye Co-Founder Heidi Peuten told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“To make the product in smaller 3L jars, we needed new machinery that cost upwards of A$200,000 (US$ 149,129) so we had to get our quantities up first in order to get that required overhead to make the money required.
“We also initially felt that the 10L jars were the most sustainable option due to a lower carbon footprint, but we realise that A$29.95 (US$22.33) for 10L of mylk, while economically most feasible is still a large amount of mylk.
“So if a consumer is on a tight budget it wouldn’t be their first choice, or if they aren’t familiar with the product, they are unlikely to opt to buy it to try either as it would be too large for trying.
“So in order to get more people to try it and open up our mylks to new demographics, these smaller jars are A$11.99 (US$8.94) each and great as trial products. We even have a trial pack with all four available Mini Mylk Base flavours available (Hemp, Almond, Nuts and Hazelnut) at A$40 (US$29.83).”
More importantly, the smaller jars will open up more new retail avenues for the firm as well as facilitate its planned overseas expansion.
“With the lower price points of the Mini Mylk Bases, it’s a much nicer price point for supermarkets – as we all know, going into a supermarket, there’s rarely anything that’s particularly expensive as consumers aren’t going in there looking for very expensive items,” she added.
“So in that sense these 3L jars make the price point a lot more supermarket-friendly, and our conversations with all the major supermarkets in Australia are well underway – they’re definitely ready and invested in bringing more products to their consumers which are more environmentally conscious, products that are good for people and for the environment, so we fit there really well.
“At this point in time, we definitely hope to be in major supermarkets within the next 12 months. Beyond that, the smaller jar sizes will also help us with forging into new countries and markets, as it will make for better transportation and carbon footprint – For that, we’re undertaking some government export courses as there are a lot of requirements based on labour, tax, legalities and all that, so we’re just getting all our ducks in a row before doing that hard overseas launch.”
Ulu Hye also has Chocolate and Strawberry mylk bases available in the 10L jar format.
In terms of target export countries, Peuten highlighted that although the main aim would be to reach consumers on a plant-based diet everywhere, one thing that is most needed for consumption of the mylk bases is a blender.
“The mylk bases need to have water added and then blended for one minute in order to become the mylk itself, so it would be a priority to make sure that the majority of households in any of our target markets own or have access to a stick blender or typical blender,” she said.
“But for sure, we know that Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States are all markets that we have our eye on and hope to expand and launch products into.”