Speaking on the firm’s Q4, 2013, earnings call, CEO Gregg Engles said that the US almond milk subcategory grew more than 50% in the fourth quarter, with growth driven by WhiteWave’s Silk brand, which posted its second consecutive quarter of 60% growth.
He added: “For the first time our almond milk sales exceeded our soy milk sales in the quarter. Almond milk’s share of the plant based category continues to grow and currently stands at 60% of the entire category.
“We are also excited about the potential of our recent innovations, which include flavorful almond and coconut milk blends and a new variety of almond milk enhanced with protein and fiber.”
WhiteWave has 64% share of the North American coconut milk category
WhiteWave now holds a 64% share of the North American coconut milk category, a 53% share in almond milk and a 74% share of the more mature soy milk category, and plans to increase the distribution of its Silk branded non-dairy yogurts and introduce new rice-based creams.
WhiteWave’s Alpro dairy-free brand also performed well in Europe, said Engles:“Alpro… had another quarter of very healthy growth with sales increasing 16% as we reported and 12% on a constant currency basis.”
Earthbound Farm could move beyond produce aisle
The firm, which has recently extended the Horizon organic dairy brand beyond the dairy case for the first time with a new line of macaroni and cheese products, is also exploring opportunities for the recently-acquired Earthbound Farm organic business beyond the produce aisle, said Engles.
“We see tremendous potential for growth and innovation here and we have only just begun to scratch the surface of these opportunities.”
WhiteWave is also forming a joint venture with Chinese dairy giant Mengniu Dairy to begin manufacturing and distributing products in China, he said.
“China is an excellent market for us to bring our product capabilities as it has a large in growing consumer base with increasing desires for healthy nutritious and sustainable foods and beverages.”