Chobani, the US dairy and dairy-alternatives group, is testing out a direct-to-consumer operation in the wake of growing shopper interest in the services against the backdrop of Covid-19.

The privately-owned business is shipping Oat Barista Edition oat-based drinks to consumers across the US. Shoppers can order the shelf-stable beverages for US$29.50 for six 32-ounce units.

A number of packaged-food majors have launched or expanded direct-to-consumer services during the pandemic to meet demand from shoppers unable or less willing to visit stores.

“We’ve been seeing consumer shopping habits shift to direct-to-consumer during the Covid-19 pandemic, so we knew this would be a great time to test out a DTC service of our own,” a Chobani spokesperson said.

“Logistically, the shelf-stable nature of this product makes it the right first item to offer. For now, the direct-to-consumer operations will focus solely on this product. As we launch more shelf-stable products in the future, we hope to make them available through this platform.”

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By GlobalData

Chobani, which made its name in the US yogurt market during the late noughties and the 2010s. The company launched its dairy-alternative oat beverages in 2019 and has expanded the range to take in coffee creamers.

"We launched our oat milks just over a year ago and we've been very pleased with our momentum in the category," the spokesperson said. "From a category perspective, oat has become the fastest-growing – in absolute dollar growth – alternative-milk, with consumers increasingly gravitating to oat milk at the expense of almond and soy. It's now the second-largest plant-based beverage, behind almond milk."

just-food analysis: How will Covid-19 shape direct-to-consumer platforms?