The Oatly Shortage Is So Out-of-Control that One Carton Is $25 on Amazon
That's six times the price offered on Oatly's own website (which, of course, is sold out).
According to financial pundits, there are many reasons why Millennials aren't achieving financial success. Ignoring the most gigantic hurdles (i.e., student loans) that stand between us and retirement savings, we're often faulted for our supposedly unnecessary spending on things like "$19 avocado toast" or $6 Starbucks lattes—basically, the small pleasures that make daily life feel less like a drag.
Seeing as I've convinced myself that my daily $5 cold brew habit is not a problem—and neither is my tendency towards $10 juices with nice packaging—I'll be the first to write off financial advice from Baby Boomers as stupid, as I shake my fist and say, "Let me have this one thing!!!" Still, even I have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to over-the-top Millennial purchases.
Here's that line: As reported by Eater, people are now paying over five times the retail price for the highly coveted brand of oat milk known as Oatly. Shortages in coffee shops and grocery stores have created a new—and expensive—market for oat milk on Amazon and other online retailers through third-party sellers who seem to have stockpiled Oatly cartons.
According to current Amazon listings, one liter of Oatly Barista Edition Oat Drink, for example, is being sold for $25, or $0.78 per fluid ounce. (On that listing, one comment reads, "$24.99 for a single carton? Is this an error?") To put that price better into context, a liter is 32 fluid ounces and a Grande drink at Starbucks is 16 fluid ounces, so if you were to fill up just two medium-sized coffee cups, there goes your entire $25 carton.
By contrast, Oatly's United States website lists an entire six-pack of 1-liter containers of Barista Edition Oat Drink for $25. That being said, it's currently sold out on the brand's site—and a six-pack is currently between $139 and $164 on Amazon, shipping not included.
According to Oatly's Oatfinder map, given my current location in Brooklyn, I should be able to walk into one of at least 40 cafes in the Greater New York area and walk out with an oat milk latte. The reality is that's probably not so: As MUNCHIES reported earlier this year, there have been consistent national shortages of Oatly due to skyrocketing demand. As one coffee shop manager told MUNCHIES for our previous coverage, "We try to develop a backstock of Oatly, asking our suppliers to give us as much at once as they can."
Obviously, a mitigating factor in the Amazon Oatly price surge is that most people are probably not drinking straight-up oat milk; they're putting it in coffee and therefore increasing the per-cup yield of that liter. It is also fairly likely that the people buying Barista Edition Oat Drink at this jacked-up new rate are people who run coffee shops, and can therefore use that liter in several drinks that will command five-or-more dollars each and maybe even continue to turn profit.
But if you're just somebody who needs to cut your coffee with oat milk so badly that you'll pay five times more than it should actually cost, perhaps now is the time to stop and rethink some habits.