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The New York Times reports that Quaker Oats plans to bring its Quaker Oat Beverage to supermarket shelves nationwide, using the distribution infrastructure of parent company PepsiCo to make it happen: “Quaker hopes to distinguish its offering by promoting what it says are its health benefits, primarily that it contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber from oat bran, that can reduce the risk of heart disease.”

The story says that Quaker is avoiding the use of the words “oat milk” so it can avoid the regulatory debate about what is milk and what isn’t.

The Times writes that “milk alternatives were originally geared toward people unable to stomach cow’s milk because they were lactose intolerant. But as vegans and other buyers embraced the plant-based choices, sales in the United States rose to more than $2 billion last year, up 61 percent from five years earlier, according to the research firm Mintel.

“Oat milk, while gaining popularity in parts of Europe, has been mostly a trendy, fringe product in the United States. Quaker is betting it can be more than that.

“The company’s main competitor in the category is Oatly, a 25-year-old company based in Sweden, and its namesake drink. Oatly tiptoed into the United States market about two years ago, persuading small coffee chains like Intelligentsia and some stand-alone shops to use its dairy milk alternative.”
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