AG Barr buys majority stake in oat milk and porridge seller MOMA Foods as popularity of plant-based drinks soar
- AG Barr said it intends to take full control of MOMA Foods within three years
- MOMA was founded in 2006 under a railway arch in Deptford by Tom Mercer
- Clients of MOMA include major supermarket chains like Tesco and Waitrose
Irn-Bru maker AG Barr has taken a step into plant-based drinks by purchasing a 60 per cent stake in one of Britain’s largest oat milk producers.
The Scottish soft drinks firm has now become the majority owner of MOMA Foods, a South London-based group that also sells porridge, bircher muesli and low sugar granola food.
It said it intends to complete the transaction in late January next year before eventually taking full ownership of the company, the country’s third-biggest oat milk business, within three years.
AG Barr has now become the majority owner of MOMA Foods, a south London-based group that sells oat milk,manufactures porridge, bircher muesli and low sugar granola food
Founded in 2006 under a railway arch in Deptford by former management consultant Tom Mercer, MOMA has expanded in tandem with the rising popularity of alternative milks, such as soy, almond and oat milk across the UK population.
The group supplies some of Britain’s largest supermarket chains like Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s, as well as budget airline EasyJet, high street store chain Selfridges and pub operator JD Wetherspoon.
‘I believe that together we can harness the passion that is integral to MOMA and grow into a significantly bigger brand,’ remarked Tom Mercer.
‘We’re 100 per cent focused on crafting oats into the tastiest food and drink products we can, and I’m looking forward to the next leg of our journey.’
A survey published by research firm Mintel in September estimated that a third of Britons consumed plant-based milk compared to 25 per cent last year, with millennials and Generation Z driving much of the increase.
Cow’s milk still retains the largest market share by far, yet the pandemic and the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets saw oat milk sales nearly double to £146million last year, and total plant-based milk sales rise to £394million.
Oat boom: The pandemic and the growing popularity of plant-based diets saw oat milk sales nearly double to £146million last year, and total plant-based milk sales rise to £394million
Swedish food company Oatly had benefited from much of the growth, having been around for more than a decade longer than MOMA and received financial backing from Blackstone Group and former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz.
It was listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market earlier this year and is using some of the cash from the listing to build new production facilities, including one in Peterborough that is due to start operating in 2023.
AG Barr’s boss Roger White said he was ‘delighted that AG Barr is venturing into healthy oat-based products with such a great brand and an experienced team, led by Tom.
‘Plant-based milk is a fast-growing category, in particular, and MOMA’s oat milk is a premium quality product with huge potential. This exciting investment is a positive indication of AG Barr’s growth ambitions.’
A week ago, the Rubicon and Tizer manufacturer upgraded its full-year revenue and profit forecasts to £264million and £41million, respectively, following a bumper period of trade over the late summer and autumn.
This marked a significant recovery from the early stages of the pandemic when the closure of hospitality venues badly impacted sales of its carbonated soft drinks and its stills and water brands like Strathmore.
Shares in AG Barr were up 1.3 per cent to 526.6p this afternoon.