2020 has been a positively busy year for Koita. The homegrown, organic milk and plant milks company launched five new products in time for “Back to School”, it has seen an exponential rise in sales since the lockdown and is now available on Amazon USA. The move to America brings Koita’s territory total to 11 countries.
The United States is clearly a massive market and Koita’s strategy is to grow slowly and steadily in the North East with a focus on getting the brand in the hands of an upscale and international market. Since regulations on European milk are tight, its uncommon to find similar products. Amazon, as the number one e-commerce platform in the USA kicked off the brand distribution strategy and by October, specialty stores will also supply the Koita plant-based range.
What is refreshingly different in this case, is that it’s usually Dubai that brings on American brands but with Koita, it’s the other way around. A homegrown UAE brand has landed in the USA! Aside from being an admirable coup expansion-wise, there is a more personal motive too; Koita’s founder and owner, Mustafa Koita is an American and for him personally, the USA launch literally means, “bringing his brand home”.
Back in the Middle East, the business goes from strength to strength. When lockdown hit Koita saw a 375% increase in online sales across UAE. Kuwait and KSA as wary consumers stocked up on organic, long-life products, and in spite of regulations loosening, people still continue to stockpile the premium product. An interesting outcome of the pandemic was how consumers have come around to liking shelf stable, UHT milk and are sticking to it. During the recent launch of Koita 1l Coconut and Oat & Almond 200ml, the company saw a 10% increase in regional revenue in the first month compared to the usual 1-2%.
The HORECA market is also on a better recovery path: As of July, Koita’s UAE sales saw 20% increase in sales versus June, as 62% of the food service channel are back on track during this month, mainly luxury dining/fine dining channels are open.
A not so surprising trend which Koita has seen from 2019 is the rise in demand for the lactose-free and plant-based milk categories. A global pattern where the world has seen a laser focus on plant-based everything, Koita’s growth here increased 35% year on year. Growth in the lactose-free category is not far behind with increasing Koita product offerings to lactose intolerant populations in Asia.