How Germany Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp Became An Oat Milk Entrepreneur
Kevin Trapp describes his coffee habit as “something between addiction and pleasure”.
The Eintracht Frankfurt and German national team goalkeeper drinks “too much” of one of the world’s most popular beverages, with cappuccinos a particular weakness.
So, when he started feeling unwell after his daily cups, he sought advice.
“I always felt kind of bloated, full and didn’t have any appetite,” Trapp tells me in an interview.
“I was talking to our doctors in the club and they said, ‘maybe you should try some alternatives to cow’s milk’.”
As a professional athlete who depends on his body, Trapp was willing to give it a go. He tried taking his coffee with plant-based milk substitutes like rice milk, soy milk and oat milk. After getting used to the taste, he found oat milk was his favorite.
That might have been the end of the story until last year. While Germany was in lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic, Trapp was discussing the increasing demand of plant-based milk alternatives with three friends. The friends all worked in the food and drink industry and one of them was having trouble getting delivery from his usual oat milk supplier. Among the four of them, an idea began to brew.
“It came more out of a fun and a random question: why don’t we do our own oat milk?” Trapp says.
“We discussed what it would be like and how we would know what’s in it, which is important for me, and how we would know where it’s produced. And it became reality.”
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After lots of meetings, research and blind taste testings, Mølk, or Moelk, was born. Trapp is a co-founder of the company, which offers a barista edition oat drink alternative to milk. Since February, the product has been sold online and available in some German supermarkets.
“This is the first company I’ve really invested in. I wanted to put my money into something I was really passionate about,” Trapp, who won three French league titles with Paris Saint-Germain, says.
“The first day it was on sale I went to the market and saw it there and I said ‘wow, it’s really happening’.”
Creating a healthy and sustainable product was key and Mølk is “vegan, gluten free, delicious, zero bullshit”. It is produced in Germany and the oats, which after water make up the largest part of the product, are sourced within Europe.
“For us, it tastes the best,” Trapp says when asked why the founders choose oats for their milk alternative.
“And then when we were talking about the environment and sustainability it was the best product because it needs the least amount of water to grow and there are no pesticides.
“We really wanted it to be something available for everybody. Normally oats are vegan already and we made it gluten free. We also wanted it to be low sugar and as few calories as possible.”
Trapp is not a vegan but has “reduced a lot” the amount of animal products he consumes.
“I felt reducing it worked very well for me because I wasn’t sick anymore,” he says.
“I had fewer infections and injuries. I had more energy and felt more powerful.”
After a positive response to their Mølk barista, a second product will be launched in the coming months.
It comes at a boom time for the oat milk market, which is surpassing other plant-based drinks. According to Nielsen research, sales of oat milk in the US rose 131% over the last year, to $304 million.