Oat milkmen take on the big guys

A group of farmers in Scotland have set up the Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers which hopes to see a collaborative approach allow them to enter a sector currently dominated by multinational processors.

With the country already renowned for producing the best raw ingredients for porridge, such a move could offer further opportunities for Scottish oat growers.

“There are currently no large-scale manufacturers of oat milk in Scotland,” said Alistair Trail, senior consultant with SAC Consulting who helped facilitate the move through the Rural Innovation Support Service.

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He said that while a small number of micro businesses in Scotland were producing perishable fresh oat milk, the logistical challenges of cold-chain delivery meant that these businesses could only supply individual, local markets.“By collaborating, as part of the Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers member businesses will be able to get involved in several areas which can help the sector grow in Scotland,” said Trail.

He said that the industry in Scotland was in its infancy and would face competition from large international brands like Alpro and Oatley:

“By collaborating, the individual niche manufacturers will be able to share resources and help the fledgling industry compete against the large multinational competitors,” said Trial.

A collaborative approach could allow joint research and marketing - and even joint use of a UHT facility. A further benefit would be a shared voice when discussing issues with government bodies and better representation in industry discussions and a better chance to key into sector funding.

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