PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo, Inc. is discontinuing its Quaker Oats beverage line less than a year after launch. Quaker Oat Beverage debuted in January alongside a slew of other new entrants in the oat milk category. Varieties included original, original unsweetened and vanilla, each containing 30 to 50 calories, less than 1 gram of protein and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
“Quaker made the decision to discontinue our Oat Beverage product line,” a company spokesperson told Food Business News. “As the 142-year-old leader in oats, we are always looking for new ways for people to experience their benefits, and we’re committed to continuing to innovate within the foods and snacks categories across our full portfolio of brands.”
Oat milk has made a splash in new product development this year, appearing in a variety of formats, including non-dairy lattes, frozen desserts and coffee creamers. Danone North America, White Plains, N.Y., introduced a range of yogurt alternatives made with oat milk. Monster Beverage Corp., Corona, Calif., unveiled Java Monster Farmer’s Oats, an energy beverage containing oat milk, coffee and a blend of taurine, ginseng and guarana. Greek yogurt maker Chobani, L.L.C., Norwich, N.Y., recently announced Chobani Oat, a line of oat-based alternatives to milk and yogurt.
A Chobani Oat barista blend is designed to froth like steamed whole milk in coffee and tea.
Sales of oat milk have increased 636% to $53 million from $7.2 million in the past year, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, dollar sales of cow’s milk have been steadily declining over the past four years. In the latest 52 weeks, cow’s milk sales totaled $12 billion, which compared to $15.1 billion in 2015, according to Nielsen.
Pressure on the dairy industry has mounted as more consumers shift focus and preferences toward plant-based alternatives, including almond milk, soy milk and oat milk.
Quaker Oat Beverage was formulated to qualify for the Food and Drug Administration’s heart health claim for fiber from oat bran, which differentiated it from other newly launched oat milk products.
PepsiCo further differentiated the product by calling it “oat beverage” rather than “oat milk.” The company said the product was suitable in coffee, smoothies or cereal, as well as in baking and cooking applications. PepsiCo had spent about two years developing and finetuning the formulation, a spokesperson told Food Business News last November.