You may have to wait until early 2019 to find an affordable option in your store.
Out of all the alternative milks on the market, oat milk may be the hardest to find right now—and if you do find it, be ready to cough up some serious cash. The United States is currently experiencing a national oat milk shortage, according to a new Eater report, and Amazon sellers are taking advantage of the current imbalance in supply and demand. Cases of Oatly oat milk are currently selling for upwards of $200 per case, (which adds up to about $16.50 for a 32-ounce carton) compared to its usual price of $4.99.
Oat milk first gained popularity in 2016 when Oatly, the leading brand, was introduced to American markets via New York City coffee shops. Oat milk had already become the second most popular alternative milk option in the United Kingdom and Sweden, and both countries experienced temporary shortages soon after Oatly was released there as well.
Mike Messersmith, a general manager with Oatly, explained to Antonia Hitchens of The New Yorker that the process of making oat milk is complex, as it involves using enzymes to liquify raw oat kernels.
More on the latest alternative milks:
- We’re Going Nuts Over Whole Foods’ Newest Line of Alternative Milks
- Which Type of Milk is Right For You?
- This Type Of Non-Dairy Milk is the Healthiest, Study Says
“There’s a tension between speed and quality here,” Messersmith said. “We can’t just go to a manufacturer and say, ‘Here’s a bucket of oats, go and make oat milk!’”
But if you find yourself hooked on this ultra-smooth milk alternative, know that all hope is not lost. Quaker Oats is launching their own line of oat milks in 2019, and plans to distribute their line to all stores by March. The milks come in three varieties: original, vanilla, and original unsweetened, and will retail for $4.29 for a 48-ounce carton.
In the meantime, you'll have to settle for measly nut milks—maybe head to Whole Foods to try their new self-serve almond milk machine?