Plant-based milk and yogurt company Good Karma Foods today announced the launch of a new line of enhanced flaxseed milks in three ready-to-drink (RTD) formats, a move which CEO Doug Radi said positions the brand to expand into new use occasions and retail channels including e-commerce.
The new shelf-stable line, called Flaxmilk Omega-3 + Protein, will launch in early 2018. Each SKU contains 7-10g of protein and 1,100-1,500 omega-3 fatty acids, depending on variety.
Radi said that launching the line in three package formats — 6.75 oz. “lunchbox” cartons, 10 oz. single-serve bottles and a 1 qt. multi-serve carton — is part of a broad distribution strategy aimed at developing a presence in retail channels where Good Karma products have not previously been available.
“[Shelf-stable products] is something that we’ve had on our wish list for a long time,” he said, framing the launch as a way to translate Good Karma’s core philosophy — creating allergy-free, nutrient-dense and great tasting plant-based beverage products — into new use occasions. “As we continue to think about our innovation strategy, upping the ante in plant-based beverages is sort of a core promise that we make to ourselves as a company and to consumers as we keep evolving and innovating in the category.”
Radi explained that each package format is designed to target a different consumer demographic and retail channel.With flavors like Lightly Sweetened Vanilla and Chocolate, the lunchbox format is aimed at millennial families seeking kid-friendly plant-based milk options. The single-serving 10 oz. bottle — available in Unsweetened, Lightly Sweetened Vanilla and Chocolate varieties — can be merchandised on ambient shelves as well as grab-and-go coolers at convenience stores, while the 1 qt. multi-serve carton, which will launch in Unsweetened and Lightly Sweetened Vanilla flavors, can play in conventional grocery stores as well as the club channel, Radi said. Beyond traditional retail, the new line could potentially be integrated into food service.
“Historically we have not been focused on that channel, but food service is largely underdeveloped in plant-based beverages so we think this is a huge opportunity for both the operator and the brand and the consumer to all win together,” he said. “You should expect to see us in more on-premise environments as the year progresses.”
The new flax milk line will also play a leading role in Good Karma’s push into e-commerce early next year. In addition to offering its products on Amazon and other online retailers, the company will begin direct-to-consumer sales through its new online store beginning in February 2018.
The launch of Flaxmilk Omega-3 + Protein is being funded in part by a minority investment in Good Karma from dairy processor and distributor Dean Foods, announced in May. The partnership includes a national distribution agreement and Radi noted the company would be announcing its first large retail customer partnership with Dean Foods next month.
“All along, the investment has really been focused on innovation and extending access to the brand,” Radi said. “This is a logical product line that fits really well into that strategy.”