Gluten-free plant has capacity to produce oats for more than 2.5 million portions of porridge a month

Two families in the North-east of Scotland have invested £2 million to launch what is said to be Scotland’s first dedicated gluten-free oat plant.

Andrew and Debbie Booth with Jillian and Charlie Russell. Picture: Jonathan Addie

The Oat Co. Scotland facility, extending to some 1,000 square metres, has been built at Enerfield Business Park, near Foveran, which lies within the 30-mile Energetica corridor between Aberdeen and Peterhead.

Launched by Andrew and Debbie Booth, alongside Charlie and Jillian Russell, the plant is one of only two in the UK with a dedicated gluten free facility.

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Oat Co. Scotland, which has three employees and currently six growers across Aberdeenshire, has already began selling product to the commercial market and is gearing up to increase production and headcount as demand grows.

The two families, which have farmed locally for eight generations, are growing the gluten free oats in the area and combining decades of farming knowledge with state-of-the-art technology to ensure full traceability with dedicated machinery for harvest, transport and processing.

The plant, which has the capacity to produce oats for more than 2.5 million portions of porridge a month, has been supported by Scottish Government funding and backed by HSBC.

The venture is in talks with a number of major commercial producers which have supported the entire product development, and is set to begin exporting in 2021.

Andrew Booth of Savock Farms, Foveran, said: “We recognised a niche opportunity to grow a Scottish gluten free oat range with full assurance throughout the whole process, which was not something that anyone else was offering.

“We have created a unique facility for Scotland which will not only create jobs and support our local economy, but it will help to showcase the North-east food sector across the world.”

Charlie Russell of Dams of Craigie Farm, Whitecairns, added: “We began developing the business in 2017 and with the support of our bank and the Scottish Government we have invested in dedicated machinery and built a state-of-the-art plant which utilises digital technology to guarantee fully gluten free oats from farm to plate.

“We are proud to be the first in Scotland to bring this solution to the commercial market and the first in Europe to be using this innovative stabilising and roasting process.”

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