The growing market of plant-based milk alternatives is bursting with a multitude of options such as coconut, almonds, soy, oats and nuts. The new seed in town is Pumpkin SeedMilk, which is made by Patch Organics.

Plant-based milks comprise 14% of the alternative milk market accounting for $2 billion in U.S. alternative milk sales. Evidence of the popularity of the category was the announcement last month by oat milk pioneer Oatly raising $200 million on a $2 billion valuation.

The Mt. Kisco, NY, company was founded by The Chakra Mantra cookbook author, Patricia Trongone, who started out by making organic green juices and milk alternatives. Gil Kernan, a loyal customer, quickly identified the market opportunity for Ms. Trongone’s plant-based beverages and a partnership was formed. Mr. Kernan transitioned from Wall Street to CEO of Patch Organics.

When Ms. Trongrove was working with a small NYC café chain she became concerned that almonds required an abundance of water to grow. She soon began seeking a replacement for almond milk; Ms. Trongone retreated to her commercial kitchen to work on recipes utilizing only high-quality ingredients. The fruits of her labor included The Original Pumpkin SeedMilk. Small batch production could not keep pace with demand and based on the enthusiastic reception from its New York clientele, the partners sought strategies to grow the business.

The nutrition boxes of the newly created milk alternative were checked off: certified-organic and non-GMO ingredients, containing none of the “top 8 allergens,” kosher; lactose-free; gluten-free. The Original Pumpkin SeedMilk is high in electrolytes, calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.

The 250-milliliter, single serving containers will retail for $2.99 each, available in 4-pack or 12-pack lines. Larger one-liter containers and sugar-free options are coming soon. The current flavors are Original and Chocolate, 110 and 130 calories, respectively. Shelf presence is being established in East Coast specialty shops. Hospitals, nursing home facilities, and college campuses are also being pursued. Currently, the college markets are “on pause” due to restrictions from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Patch Organics was a recent graduate of the first cohort of the Big Idea Ventures (BIV) Accelerator Program in New York City and received initial outside venture funding from BIV’s The New Protein Fund. Patch Organics is in the process of closing another round of funding ahead of its first large-scale commercial production with a Northeast regional launch and direct consumer online sales. The product will be available in shelf stable Tetra Pak packaging.

Future expansion will be considered for California and Colorado, established havens for plant-based milk alternatives. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Western aficionados embrace the delicious, nutritious Pumpkin SeedMilk as staples to complement their latte’ foam art and granola breakfast.

David Liepman
August 26, 2020

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