The unstoppable growth of nut milk.
Almond milks have been doing brisk business in recent years. The whole ‘dairy alternative’ milk market is now worth £200m in the UK alone and is understood to be one of the fastest growing categories in supermarkets.
The big beast in the sector is Alpro, which commands a formidable 85% share of almond milk sales in the UK. (Alpro has been owned by French conglomerate Danone since 2016.)
The two-year old nut butter brand Pip and Nut is the latest new entrant into the market. The startup is estimated to be worth around £6m and its up-market nut butters and milks are now ranged by Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
Pip and Nut will join the likes of Rude Health (which, like Pip and Nut, costs around £2 for a 1 litre carton) and Plenish (£2.50) to take on Alpro (£1.80) and Almond Breeze (£1.50).
None of these companies are allowed to call their products ‘milks’. Milk is only allowed to be used in relation to the stuff that comes from farm animals. The long-life almond milk sold in supermarkets is water blended or filtered with almonds and then stabilised to stop it splitting and going off, so work-around terms like ‘almond mylk’ and ‘almond milk alternative’ are used instead.
Challengers like Pip and Nut are attempting to differentiate themselves from Alpro and justify their higher prices by pointing out that they contain significantly more nuts than the established brands, which use additives, flavourings, gums and emulsifiers.
The marketing of nut milks has shifted from people who suffer an allergic reaction to dairy, to selling almond milk as a healthy product, and even becoming a lifestyle choice.
Starling targets business banking.
The digital startup banks are all jostling to establish themselves as best placed to win customers as quickly as possible. Tandem has struggled since losing its banking licence earlier this year, while Atom and Monzo are making the biggest strides.
Fundamental questions remain over the digital banks’ longer term business models and whether they can really keep adding customers faster than the high-street banks can overhaul their digital propositions.
One path being taken is to carve out the sub-sector of business banking. Tide has made strong inroads since it launched in July last year, backed by VC Eileen Burbidge and Local Globe. In recent weeks, Starling revealed it will enter the business banking sector too. Small business banking is notoriously hugely frustrating for business owners having to interact with the slow and sclerotic world of high street banks which are geared around everyday consumers.
Supreme’s mega private equity deal.
The streetwear brand has been a phenomenon in recent years; confusing and mesmerising big fashion and luxury companies with its unique way of melding marketing, product, PR, retail, and sales.
The queues for its weekly ‘drops’ of new products and highly active sales on secondary markets online haven’t abated.
And last week, the company’s British founder James Jebbia did a mega private equity deal with the Carlyle Group which values Supreme at $1bn – a remarkable feat for a streetwear brand, and one which signals how seriously big investors view the potential of streetwear in the apparel sector, as well as its crossover into the mainstream.
London arts uni starts selling its students’ wares.
UAL has recently launched a new retail concept.
‘Not Just a Shop’, located in Holborn, sells homewares, stationary and prints produced by UAL alumni, providing a mutually beneficial relationship between the university and its ex-students, generating a bit of income for both.
It’s also a demonstration of the talent the university has produced. Jewellery from Tatty Devine and Maya Magal as well as ceramics by Reiko Kaneko (who we previously featured here) are some of the items stocked.
In its first week, the shop turned over about £1,000 a day.
Macron’s charm offensive to UK startup.
50 British startups met Emmanuel Macron last week. It was presented in soft tones in reports as a means ‘to boost ties’, but given the French president’s openly declared eagerness to assert Paris as a European startup hub, the meeting demonstrates a clear desire to persuade the UK’s fastest growing companies to set up in the French capital.
Among the delegates were founders of financial technology startups like Transferwise and Monzo – both companies directly impacted by the uncertainty around Brexit, the potential loss of Europe-wide banking licences and difficulties in finding talented coders.
We believe talent flight is the big risk even before anything substantive is triggered around Brexit and, as we presented in our leading article from the latest issue, Emmanuel Macron clearly sees an opportunity for Paris to rival London as Europe’s startup hub.