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SunOpta says US plant-based milk competition is set to intensify

SunOpta says US plant-based milk competition is set to intensify SunOpta Food and Beverage Business

SunOpta’s West Life soy milk is looking to increase its promotional activity in the US retail market for shelf-stable, plant-based milk to boost sales next year, according to CEO Joe Ennen. The company believes that the overall market for shelf-stable alternatives is growing, with strong demand in club stores and the foodservice sector.

Ennen highlighted that tracked retail outlets had seen declining volumes in recent weeks, prompting the company to anticipate increased promotional activity in 2024. SunOpta produces branded and private-label plant-based milks, with brands including Dream and manufacturing for retailers such as Walmart and Califia Farms.

After selling its frozen-fruit assets, SunOpta is focusing on its combined beverages and broth unit and a fruit snacks arm. In the third quarter, revenue from beverages and broth saw a 9% increase, while revenue from fruit snacks jumped 16%. Ennen emphasized the importance of the foodservice, coffee shop channel in driving volume for SunOpta and how it differs from retail consumer behavior.

Looking forward, SunOpta is expecting annual revenue growth in 2023 and 2024, with a strong pipeline of new business development opportunities for the second half of 2024. However, forecasting the timing and quantum of new business is challenging, as seen from the company’s reduced sales outlook for the year after the disappointing second quarter. Despite this, the company is confident in its core business forecast for 2024, with a projected rise in revenue and adjusted EBITDA.

In related news, plant-based dairy group Oatly announced that it would halt the construction of two planned new production facilities, including one in Texas. For more industry insights and news, sign up for our daily news round-up to give your business an edge.

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