From Sweden to the U.S.
Meet the man who is changing the game.

Interview with Björn Öste, co founder of Oatly and Good Idea.

As you might have noticed, we at HMT have decided to use all of the knowledge and experience we have gained over the year, spice it up with the foresights for the upcoming year and share it with you in a form of the Global Gamechangers Trend Report for 2019. It consists of three major parts – Gamechanging Trends, Consumers and Brands to show you WHAT is happening in the world of food and health but also WHY it is happening by understanding the consumer motivations behind the trends and finally, HOW you can make the trends work for your brand innovation.

And to get under the skin of two of the Gamechanging Brands we have analysed in the report, it was inevitable to invite the one and only Björn Öste, HMT’s close friend and the co-founder of Oatly and Good Idea inc. Two brands that are changing the game in its respective categories.

Oatly’s original position was quite niche as a cow’s milk alternative for lactose-intolerant individuals until HMT helped Oatly re-position the brand and focus on the “Oatly Way” strategy, which challenged the dairy industry.

Good Idea on the other hand has its edge towards the soda industry. It is a drink driven by two factors – Swedish science and the idea of contributing to diabetes prevention by busting your sugar cravings. HMT assisted with identifying the right target audience while the company had already found a way to simply explain consumers the science without sounding too boring. But more about all of this in the interview with Björn:

1. How did Oatly and Good Idea come to be, and how did you come to be involved with them?

The first patent behind what Oatly is today was conceived in the early 1990s by my brother, professor Rickard Öste, at the Univeristy of Lund. He pulled together a team of multidisciplinary scientists with the objective of producing the worlds best “Milk.” I joined the project as an investor in 1997. Oatly has used state of the art science since it’s inception.

In 2008 our Research and Development unit was separated into an independent company, and Aventure AB was born.  Today Rickard and I remain the main owners in the R&D team.

Aventure is very much involved in oat reserch but at times, we explore other areas with our expertise. Our focus today is to address major health issues with preventative foods that is sustainable and that is clinically documented to deliver true health benefits and that are based on patented technologies.

Good Idea was born out of a separate research project at Lund University at the Anti Diabetic Food Center. The benefits the product delivers are instrumental in the fight against “diabesity”. With rampant obesity and diabetes, we need to change our diets and we need to do so before we develop permanent conditions like diabetes.

2.What makes Oatly and Good Idea special, how are they changing the game?

Oatly has completely changed the landscape for plant based dairy. Already a significant player in Europe, it launched in the US and in two years helped turn the oatmilk category into arguably the most hyped and talked about plant based dairy product. All major plant based milk suppliers are now quickly launching their own oat milks. Oatly’s superior quality shines through in cleaner labels, better nutritional panels and better functionality.

Good Idea is one of the first truly functional beverages on the market that can play a real role in helping reversing negative health spirals in the US and rest of the world.

It is one thing, and a good thing, to switch away from sugary beverages, but Good Idea goes one step further and actively helps reduce blood sugar levels from food and cuts your blood sugar spikes. Consumers are energized through the day and with repeated consumption they will help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

3.What does it mean to be a Swedish brand and how did Oatly move from Sweden to global markets?

The general perception of Swedes in the US seems to be that we are extra healthy and beautiful!

Clearly these are attributes that resonate well with natural, organic health foods. Oatly actually launched in the UK, so from day one, the world market has been in focus. Coming from Sweden, it is common to go to market with a global view from day one as the domestic market is quite small.

4.Why launch Good Idea in the U.S. Why is the U.S. an important market for building a Gamechanger brand?

The US is home to 86 million pre-diabetics, and over 100 million people fall into the category of overweight or obese.

The numbers are staggering. Also, of equal importance, the regulatory framework makes it easier to launch functional products in the US compared to Europe. Although, the burden of proof, should the supplier be challenged, is pretty much the same;  in Europe you have to apply and obtain approval by European Food Safety Association, the Food Drug Administration does not require pre-approval.

5.What do you see on the horizon for the Health and Nutrition markets? What is exciting to you, and what needs to be shaken up?

I think we are only beginning to see TRUE functional foods and beverages hit the markets. So many trends, such as Bio-Hacking, will drive demand for functionality that works.

New ways of measuring and checking health parameters with Apple and Google apps drive a wider health awareness where people can check regularly where they are with their health. Diets like Keto and Paleo demand more of their followers and app developers are happy to fill the void.

Preventative health is another coming trend. Soon, we will see foods that can be prescribed by doctors and paid for by your health insurance, as they deliver proven benefits.

We encourage you to visit Oatly and Good Idea at ExpoWest in Anaheim California from March 5th-8th.

To read more about the Gamechanger Brands and Trends for 2019, order your copy of HMT’s Global Gamechanger 2019 Report. See summary and content pages here.