From heritage producers to hydration… Oatly’s largest shareholder finds the subsequent mega-trends on its radar

From heritage producers to hydration… Oatly’s largest shareholder finds the subsequent mega-trends on its radar

Belgium-based Verlinvest is the investment company of the family within the back of brewing enormous Anheuser-Busch InBev. Created over 25 years within the past, at present Verlinvest has 28 producers in its portfolio and has in method over $4bn in funds beneath management.

Its most infamous — or more precisely, slump — effect is Oatly (presently price more than $14bn since record on the US Nasdaq stock alternate closing month), in which it owned a 55.9% stake within a joint mission before the IPO.

Verlinvest’s head of European meals and beverage, Ben Shadowy, knowledgeable FoodNavigator the team is having a bear a examine long-term development opportunities offered by those trends offering ‘more ethical, sustainable and wholesome picks’.

“We predict about those three consumer shifts will be pervasive,”​ he knowledgeable us, along with that the investment car’s level of interest is on producers in search of to pressure mainstream consumption in opposition to more ethical picks that abet the needs of a brand original technology.

“We are very focussed on what the consumer needs, and those three trends and long-term consumer shifts are crucial for us because we’re in an extremely piquant time interval the put the trim majority of producers that exist at present had been constructed within the 20th century for the 20th century consumer, and that consumer has varied needs. What we’re buying for is producers for the 21st century that abet the 21st century consumer. That consumer is youthful and has a extremely varied expectation of what they desire from producers within meals and beverage.”   

He believes more folks are looking to steal green and ethical products and are engaging to pay more for them, and he’s bullish on the prospects for socially-minded entrepreneurs and producers successfully capitalising on and riding these trends.

“I’m hugely confident because that’s the put I seek the event coming from. Brands which bear those sides are rising faster than folks who haven’t,”​ he knowledgeable us. “What you’re seeing is the upper FMCG strategics initiating put to reorient themselves around those trends as effectively.”​ An awfully obvious instance is Unilever’s dedication to operate-led producers. The FMCG enormous is “an oil tanker of an organisation within meals, however they are shifting the total industry in opposition to this. I’m no longer buying for the oil tanker, however the bustle boat that’s constructed around these values.”

Pattern 1: Customized diet

The first house the put nimble originate-u.s.are busy making waves concerns personalized diet. “We’re very attracted to having a bear a examine choices which reduction folks realize their strong level and their own nutritional needs,”​ current Shadowy. “We’ve no longer yet seen personalized diet be adopted by the mass market so we’re very mad by producers that can perhaps maybe reduction folks realize their own specificities and be guided about what forms of meals they needs to be eating to lead a more fit lifestyle.”

Customized services in most cases state the next effect effect for customers. But consumers are engaging to pay top price the put they indubitably feel added payment, in step with Shadowy. “Within the event that they’re getting unswerving bear the profit of personalized diet, I would really feel confident that they’d pay a top price to non-personalized diet.”


Ben Shadowy from Verlinvest, the fund in search of highly scalable opportunities with world likely. Brands and choices offering wholesome, sustainable and ethical picks is the put the event of the long flee lays, he says.

Pattern 2: Plastic-free hydration

Primarily based on Verlinvest, the hydration pattern promises to resolve two prescient components: the subject of the dramatic rise within the production of throwaway plastics which would perhaps perhaps maybe well be failing to be contained, controlled, reused and recycled, and folks’s must defend wholesome. “We’ve been a extremely long-term backer of hydration trends and now we’re seeing a brand original technology of producers coming thru who pick away plastic. Plastic-free hydration takes away the must shift water all over the world that takes away the necessity for single utilize plastics,” ​outlined Shadowy.

While no longer within the Verlinvest portfolio, one such effect that falls into this pattern is German originate-up Air Up, which flavours water the utilization of scented air to trick your brain into perceiving a taste, thus offering a candy taste with out the sugar. The system entails a reusable water bottle – stuffed with faucet water – to which you attach a scent pod that releases flavour into your mouth as you drink. Air Up has already raised an €18m Sequence A funding round from traders along with PepsiCo and French foodtech investor Five Seasons Ventures.

One other German originate-up that is hoping to disrupt the flavoured drink sector is Water Drop. This resolution provides consumers flavoured capsules which they are able to set of their water bottle. “Right here’s a extremely thrilling pattern because it helps from a sustainability perspective however additionally helps from a effectively being perspective as effectively. It permits for more consumption of water,”​ Shadowy noticed.

GettyImages plastic bottle nito100

New technology promises to disrupt the flavoured water class. Image: Getty/nito100

Pattern 3: A return to produce chain ethics and provenance

Acquired files says COVID has made folks more responsive to the put their meals comes from and what they are striking into their bodies. “This has led from our perspective to a return to hobby of folks in search of local and original and turning into very attracted to beautiful the put their meals comes from,” ​Shadowy knowledgeable us.

That diagram thrilling times for heritage producers. Shield tomato knowledgeable, and Italy’s largest effect, Mutti. “We’ve seen a immense boost at some level of Covid on this industry,”​ Shadowy printed. “It’s a multi-generational 100-one year effect that has very specific sourcing criteria to enhance the typical of their tomatoes. We seek astronomical tick up in hobby on this house as folks stare to in point of fact realize that they’re getting a quality and ethically produced product that additionally has correct taste. That renewed consumer consciousness of and very obvious level of interest on provide chain ethics, provenance and localisation is something that we’re very concerned about.”​ 

He added: “We’re seeing an enchantment to those producers that elevate indulgence with a stage of belief. We’re seeing in particular in southern Europe quite lots of attention on family-backed producers which had been doing the identical element for varied years.”​ Spanish tinned sardine producer Ortiz is therefore yet any other astronomical instance of a class-defining effect. “They’re ready to level to a stage of belief and expertise that give folks license to indulge.” 


High times for hertitage producers. Image provided by Mutti

One other instance is Tony’s Chocolonely – a Dutch chocolate company centered on striking off little one labour at some level of the cocoa provide chain. This conception is ‘phenomenally piquant’, Shadowy believes, “since the 21st century consumer is asking ‘are we doing the correct element in how we utilize our money?’ and Tony’s affords a resolution to a scenario that exists from one of the best likely method that the 20th century cocoa provide chain has been constructed.”

The emblem has additionally been “a appealing success fable”,​ he added. “We invested in them about 18 months within the past. The emblem within the house of some years has became the perfect chocolate effect within the Netherlands. Now we bear gone thru a course of esteem we conclude with many of our producers of internationalisation. We’ve launched the emblem within the UK, US and Germany and that is riding phenomenal development.”​ Tony’s is now no longer astray to be “effectively over a euro 100 million effect this one year, rising around 30%”.

Tony's Chocolonely Ghana bar

Tony’s Chocolonley has proved a worthy success fable. But conclude producers espousing better ethical standards set a target on their backs?

Challenges for producers ‘with operate’

Tony’s Chocolonely has no longer been immune from criticism, on the opposite hand. As an instance, it was as soon as eliminated earlier this one year from a record of ethical chocolate companies for its ties with Barry Callebaut​, which has admitted that its own provide chain is rarely any longer slavery-free.

Sustainability-minded Oat milk pioneer Oatly — Verlinvest’s perfect success fable over its 25-one year history – has additionally faced a backlash for having Blackstone (the world’s largest personal equity company accused of getting links to deforestation within the Amazon rainforest) amongst its backers.

These cases beg the question: conclude those companies that pick the easiest beautiful ground possibility having the furthest to fall?

Primarily based on Shadowy, it’s neither sensible nor really handy to impeach challenger producers to withhold far from working with ‘differently minded’ partners as they scale up and enter the mainstream.

“Within the kill the producers that we’re partnering with bear a extremely obvious realizing of how they are looking to shape the world and ignoring or no longer taking part with partners which would perhaps perhaps maybe well be ready to help them make that mission in our seek is rarely any longer the correct approach to rising commerce,”​ he acknowledged. “So for Oatly, their perfect operate is to create a effect that provides a sustainable different to dairy on a world scale. That has to be the number one mission. Equally, with Tony’s: their mission is to construct chocolate 100% slave free. By refusing to make a selection with others, we leave out an opportunity to educate them in our practices and ways of getting influence, and importantly an opportunity to create the commerce that is in a roundabout method the mission of our industry.”

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