The explosion of oat-based milk drinks over the last decade has seen a fascinating transition for alternative milk users, with none dominating that change more so than Oatly. The 100% vegan milk has become a staple in coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and homes across the country. With this in mind, we are extremely excited to have Oatly on board as one of our headline sponsors this year and, to celebrate this partnership, we sat down with Oatly’s finest, Laura Bradbury, to find out what they have in store for BCF22 and beyond.

Hi Laura, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in coffee?
Hey Dan – it’s great to catch up! Sure thing. I started out as a barista in various shops whilst studying in London and ended up still here 9 years later because the industry is so great. Once I graduated, I got a job with Climpson & Sons in Hackney as a Barista Trainer and Account Manager, and later moved into a sales role. My time there gave me so much grounding and confidence, and I learnt so much from some incredible industry professionals. 

Can you explain to me what your role with Oatly entails?
My role with Oatly is as a Barista Market Developer, covering London and the South East. A team of us work regionally, specifically with our coffee partners in the specialty industry. We’ve grown in recent years to support our goal of making products that help people to shift from consumption of animals to plants, to help secure the longevity of the planet. We know that our place in the coffee industry is fundamental to supporting the mission, and we’re forever grateful to the businesses and baristas that serve Oatly Barista Edition with pride day in, day out. 

My job is to connect with and support the industry in various ways, so no day is ever the same! The appeal to work for a fast-paced and ever-growing business was huge, and I’m learning so much along the way.

Oatly seems like a very exciting company to work for, what’s it like day-to-day?
Oatly are great to work for. I have the freedom to bring projects to the table that I believe in, and the opportunity for my voice to be heard as the expert in my field. There’s no one way and no right way of doing things when it comes to such a diverse industry. The disruptive nature of Oatly and the commitment to growing a business to make a real change is what motivates me; the access to some delicious oat-based products is, of course, a bonus! 

Oatly are one of the main sponsors of the Brighton Coffee Festival this year, how excited are you for the big day?
A coffee festival, in the summer, in one of the UK’s best cities… what more could you want?! We’re all really excited to come and represent and to catch up with all our pals locally.

What do you have planned for the big day?
We’ll of course be serving up some delicious Oatly coffee for all, and we may even have some of our other products to enjoy… perhaps of the frozen variety… I’ve said too much already!

Oatly has a massive presence in the city, why do you think it’s so successful here?
It’s no secret that as a city Brighton has championed the plant-based movement and been ahead of the curve in that sense for many years now. There is clearly a diverse community of conscious consumers in the area. This, teamed with the massive rise in an incredible coffee offering in Brighton over the last 10 years, has been the perfect setting for Oatly Barista Edition to become a firm favourite on the bar, and in homes alike.

What is it that draws you personally to Brighton?
I’m actually a fairly local gal! I grew up in Hastings, just down the coast and recently moved back there. The seaside has my heart so to be able to move back home and have buzzing Brighton just down the road is a real treat. I’m always in awe of how much the coffee industry trends have trickled out of bigger cities to smaller local towns, and finding great coffee in new places continues to put a smile on my face 

What else do you have coming up with Oatly that we should be getting excited for?
We have lots of events in the pipeline in the coffee industry, so look out for those regionally! I’m most excited about our UK factory that’s currently under development. Not only will we create products here, but the aim is to eventually source all our oats for the factory from British farmers too. It will see us meet the increasing demand for Oatly in the UK, but also – by working with farmers and manufacturers here in Britain – means we can set up even better traceability of our oats and have a demonstrable impact on our carbon emissions. Watch this space!

You’re well-known in the industry for the amazing work you do personally. What would you like to achieve as you look ahead in your career?
That’s very kind of you to say! I’m looking forward to continuing to see, and be, a part of the plant-based movement growing within the coffee industry. It’s vital that we do what we can to reduce the rate that coffee growing regions are declining due to the climate emergency and being more conscious about what we consume and serve plays a big part in that. As we see more and more business types adopt a specialty coffee offering, we see the need for great plant-based options on menus to be readily available. 

When you’re not out and about visiting coffee shops, where can people get in touch with you?
Feel free to pop me a message on IG @laurbradx, for enquiries about using Oatly or any other questions I’m on or come and say hello to me and the team at Brighton Coffee Festival – we’re looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and meeting some new ones too!