These Two Entrepreneurs Have Led the Market of Alternative Protein
Toni Petersson of Oatly and Hamutal Itzhak of Else are two leaders who set the stage for the global move to plant-based protein that just may save the world from itself
It is no news that animal-sourced protein has multiple by-product calamities inherent in its ancillary effect on environment. On-farm factors, such as fertilizer and gas emissions for crops or livestock feed, and the energy for processing and manufacturing are but a few contributors to global warming, with the latter being significantly higher than many people realize.
While lab-grown protein is all the rave, sustainability innovators such as Beyond Meat have proven that we can get our steak or burger sourced differently. A key part of this trend is a flourishing movement towards depending exclusively on plant foods, even for protein. It is not quite there yet in terms of taste and texture, but it is getting there.
There is a new generation of leaders born, out of this unmet need, that harbor sustainability in mind and driving a ‘better planet’ message to the rest of us, while we take a moment to pounder on what kind of a world we leave to our younger generations.
Oatly’s Toni Petersson has left his mark with a no-cow milk product. It is taking the world of adults by storm with growing popularity worldwide and presents a true alternative to cow-milk. Petersson studied marketing strategy at IHM business school and later received training from the Mercuri International business academy. He also studied finance, marketing, strategy, and management at the Executive Foundation Lund. His experience as a CEO and founder of companies includes the areas of lifestyle, real estate, drink distribution, and even opening a restaurant. Who doesn’t remember his vocal repertoire of the Oatly famous super-bowl ad?! His art-based sustainability message got millions of captive hearts listening at an off-key - yet surprisingly effective - promotion of plant-based milk.
Hamutal Itzhak, Else’s founder and CEO is yet another unsung hero in this play that has achieved world’s first plant-based alternative for the gold-standard of breast-milk nutrition. She comes more prepared for the battle as a former head of infant nutrition at Abbott Labs, a BSc in Psychology, General Science and an MBA, but she still treads in the unchartered territory of a borderline activist and good-doer coupled with her corporate responsibility to maximize shareholders value. Else nutrition fights the same fight as Oatly offering the moms and pops of our children clean, plant-based food, nutrition products that are not based on cow-milk anymore.
Both companies are driving existing products against multibillion dollar dairy-based industries. Else has emerged into the global arena with its Toronto Stock Exchange IPO (TSXV:BABY.V) generating a whopping 150x return to its original investors and still considered by analysts to have significant upside based on its massive north American distribution network for its products and rave reviews by parents and world-renown pediatricians.
Oatly entered the hall-of-fame with its $10 billion IPO (NASDAQ:OTLY) and plans to offer an extensive additional product line for its growing market of global fans. Both companies are making strides in what is literally making this world a better place (without any intended pun).
It is not an overnight revolution, but the stage was set, the cast chosen, and the play is afoot. We call them ‘heroes’ because we would like our children to appreciate this kind of life-changing, world-saving activism and vision, and we do find Hamutal and Toni to be the potential role models of the new-age Wonder Woman and Stark.