A farmer has said he is 'sad' that dairy giant Arla has launched oat milk.
The dairy alternative, called JORD, will be launched in Denmark, the UK and Sweden this year, in a bid to cash in on the growing demand for vegan alternatives.
Arla has described the plant-based boom as 'a business opportunity for farmers'.
'Not substitutes for milk'
According to Arla executive vice president for global marketing and innovation, Hanne Søndergaard: "More and more European consumers are looking towards plant-based products. And we know that consumers are enjoying dairy and plant-based drinks side by side.
"With our unique expertise and innovation power it is natural for us to enter this market, which is adjacent to the milk category. We aim to develop the category with a natural, Nordic range that fits into the everyday life of the European consumers and we see this as an exciting business opportunity."
Søndergaard's assertion that consumers are looking for more plant-based options is backed by data released by market research company Mintel last year, which revealed that 23 percent of Brits are consuming plant-based milk alternatives.
In addition, the average Brit's milk consumption has dropped by 50 percent since the 1950s, with consumers buying less of the white stuff than their parents.
Emma Clifford, associate director of UK food and drink at Mintel, said the change in consumer habits is 'part of a much wider plant-based movement, driven by concerns around health, ethics and the environment'.
Reacting to the news of Arla's attempt to tap into this movement by launching the new product, one dairy farmer said: "As an Arla farmer this news saddens me. Surely this is sending out mixed messages to our consumers and producers....we’re promoting an alternative product to the one we all produce, can't see that many of us going into oat production. Very little discussion all very top down."
Not everyone agreed, with some agreeing with Amirahmadi that changing consumer tastes offer business opportunities.
Dairy expert Chris Walkland said: "Arla needs to learn how to market dairy alongside plant-based companion products. Not competitors. If it makes farmers money, what’s the problem?"