Blue Bottle Coffee Lab has announced it will offer oat milk as the primary option in milk-based beverages across its US cafés.
In September 2021, the company announced its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024 and outlined next steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
One task was to assess the outcome of a three-café pilot earlier that year, offering oat milk to guests at no extra charge as the default in beverages when cow’s milk was previously served.
Blue Bottle estimated dairy to be a leading source of emissions from its café operations. To lower these emissions, it sought the opportunity to offer plant-based alternatives and reframe what it means for a choice to be ‘alternative.’
After the three-month pilot at its Brentwood, Fairfax, and Jackson Square locations, 68 per cent of milk-based beverage orders called for oat milk, a 21 per cent increase over the previous six months.
With an overwhelmingly positive guest response to the pilot, Blue Bottle scaled this effort to all Southern California Blue Bottle cafés to cover more than a third of its US locations.
Within two months of the Southern California launch, oat milk orders accounted for 64 per cent of milk-based beverages in the market, a 28 per cent increase relative to the previous six months.
Blue Bottle promptly launched pilots on the East Coast at the start of 2022 at its Dean Street, Park Slope, and Williamsburg café s in New York, and at Union Market in DC. After four months, 59 per cent of guests at these locations were ordering oat milk in their milk-based beverages. This represents a 40 per cent increase relative to the trailing six months.
Blue Bottle says by providing more people the experience of oat milk it hopes to inspire guests to choose it more often, so the greenhouse gas footprint from dairy can be reduced.
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