In 2023, Swedish brand Oatly will open its first dairy-free milk factory in the United Kingdom. Once open, the factory—which will be located in Peterborough—will have the capability of producing 300 million liters of oat milk annually. Oatly’s goal with the factory is to meet growing consumer demand for plant-based products through sustainable production practices while promoting a shift away from dairy. “Questions about a potential UK factory have been circulating for a while, and we’re really excited to finally announce the news of its arrival in 2023,” Ishen Paran, General Manager at Oatly UK, said. “The UK is a really important driver of the global plant-based movement, with growing demand for Oatly across the country, and we’re excited to supply this increased demand.”

For its operations in the region, Oatly will source oats locally in the UK and distribute its oat milk to the UK market in an effort to slash its environmental footprint. The factory will also create at least 200 jobs in the local area and have the capacity to grow its production to 450 million liters annually—making it one of the largest plant-based milk factories in the world. 

Environmental footprint of Oatly vs cow’s milk

Overall, the environmental impact of producing plant-based milk is much lower than that of animal-derived dairy. According to data resource CarbonCloud, Oatly’s Barista Edition Oat Drink generates approximately 70 percent less carbon dioxide emission than British cow’s milk. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, Oatly has been committed to implementing additional environmentally friendly practices. 

At its new factory, Oatly aims to use 100-percent renewable energy, while decreasing its energy consumption, water consumption, and waste by 75-percent each by 2029 compared to Oatly’s environmental footprint in 2019. “We look forward to supplying the UK with more oat drink [milk]—we’re even more excited to do it in a sustainable way,” Johan Rabe, Chief Supply Chain Officer, said. “Like everything we do at Oatly, we’ve ensured that sustainability is core to our factory planning. Everything, from the sourcing of our oats, to the production of our product range specifically designed for humans, has sustainability at the heart of it. Even as we strive to grow one of the biggest plant-based dairy factories to its full capacity, this will still be our top priority.”

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