SWOT Analysis


  • Brand recognition and loyal consumer base: Through its whimsical and modern approach to messaging and advertising, Oatly has a great level of brand recognition especially within the competitive landscape of dairy alternatives. The brand has created a fun personality for its product line which resonates with its main demographic of Millennials and Gen Z. Half of American dairy-alternative consumers are aware of Oatly (Statista, 2023).
  • Sustainability: Oatly is dedicated to sustainability and creating its products with an environment-first approach. The brand brings consumers into this journey and encourages individuals to care about the environment through their consumption. Oatly shows its commitment to sustainability through sharing the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet and releasing an annual sustainability report which provides viewers with a transparent look into the company’s production process. One third of consumers cite environmental factors as the reason for purchase (Statista, 2023).
  • Product line: Oatly has a vast range of products that are oat-based alternatives to popular everyday dairy products. From milk to coffee creamer to ice cream bars, Oatly has not shied away from being innovative and inspiring with new product launches. Their commitment to expansion and innovation is one of their biggest strengths. 


  • Controversial ingredient list: We are currently living in the age of information as well as the age of health and wellness. This is a difficult line to walk, as consumers are able to question for themselves any products they find suspicious or potentially harmful within their favorite products. Unnecessary additives are a big concern amongst those interested in health and wellness, which is why Oatly’s inclusion of sugars and rapeseed oil has brought on controversy. The brand has previously been slammed as “starch juice” and “sugar sludge” with some even going as far as labeling it toxic (Vox, 2024).
  • Pricing: On average, Oatly’s milk alternative products are more expensive than its cheaper counterparts (Marketplace, 2023). Due to many factors including a less efficient supply chain compared to dairy milk, dairy alternatives are already known for their costly price points; it is not helpful to be the most expensive within the category.
  • Supply Crisis: Mentioned briefly above, the supply chain process for daily alternative products are not nearly as established as dairy. Dating back to 2020, Oatly has dealt with supply chain issues in production which led to products being out of stock for prolonged periods (Food Business News, 2023).


  • Dairy Alternative Popularity: Within recent years, there has been a huge increase in interest in dairy alternatives. Whether due to health, lactose intolerance or just a general switch to consuming less dairy, there has been an influx of dairy alternative consumers. In 2022, 41% of American households purchased plant-based milk (Statista, 2023). 
  • Product Innovation: Oatly has a large range of oat-based products but has yet to expand to solid cheeses, and they are not the only oat brand who has yet to go there. Oatly has the opportunity to lead its niche in this category. 
  • Partnership expansion: Oatly currently has strong and well-established partnerships with stores such as Starbucks, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Insomnia Cookies. Under these agreements, the stores solely use Oatly products for oat-based alternatives in all US locations. This opens up the exciting opportunity for more partnerships with smaller, growing cafes and stores as the demand for dairy alternatives continues to rise.


  • Competition: While the rise of popularity in dairy alternatives amongst consumers is a big opportunity and plus for Oatly, it also presents the threat of a competitive market with new innovative companies growing constantly. The almond-based variety currently leads the non-dairy market, leaving Oat-based products with a spot to fight for (Statista, 2023). 
  • Misconceptions: People are not yet convinced about the concept of non-dairy foods, especially cheese, a very popular food. One in ten Americans would refuse to cut out cheese even if their doctor told them to do so, and only 27% would be interested in non-dairy cheese in the same situation (PR Newswire, 2023).   
  • Pricing: Dairy alternatives are already known by the general public to be more expensive than milk, which could further deter people from switching to the product altogether.
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