Many leading oat milk brands contain little or no naturally occurring oat fibre and are essentially sweetened water made from concentrate or syrup. So says Tullamore farmer Liam Lynam who, this week, launched his Oat in the City real oat drink, made from Irish grown oats, locally sourced in the midlands.
The naturally 'milked' oat drink is fresh, extra creamy and gluten and dairy-free, as well as delivering real taste, on account of retaining all the oats’ natural fibre and goodness.
“Our oat milk retains the oats’ natural beta glucans, fibre and protein, and is low in natural sugars, with no added sugar. Most commercial oat drinks are made by stripping away the parts that have the fibre and protein, so you’re mostly getting oat sugar”, says Liam Lynam, who worked in the food sector for twenty years before returning to run the family farm.
The premium oat drink is already stocked in over 200 retail and hospitality outlets in the midlands including SuperValu stores, independent retailers and coffee shops, as well as Donnybrook Fair and Nolan's of Clontarf. Oat in the City was also selected as one of 50 local Irish producers to be stocked in all Aldi stores countrywide, in a special promotion next June, as part of the Grow with Aldi programme.
The range includes an Original Oat Milk and a Barista variety for coffee making, as well as a dairy-free chocolate flavoured oat drink, retailing at €2.80 for 750ml. The handy plastic bottle is fully recyclable, while an eco-friendly glass milk bottle range is also in production, with a cute retro style.
As well as being 100% Irish developed and made, Oat in the City is a fresh product, from the chilled cabinet, while most oat drinks are UHT. And, while a generic oat milk brand will have up to 5g of sugar, Oat in the City has just 0.4g of natural sugar from the cereal, with all the fibre and protein for healthy nutrition and a slow energy release.
Food provenance is becoming more important to consumers, as is sustainable food production, Liam Lynam explains, adding that using all the essential goodness of the oats equates to true sustainability, as food waste is one of the leading causes of climate change. Coffee shops, restaurants and the foodservices sector are expected to offer the natural oat milk alternative, with locally sourced Irish oats, as a welcome option for health-conscious consumers.
The fun, but truly authentic brand was created during lockdown by the farmer and food industry executive who was motivated by the success of natural high quality Irish brands and their ability to compete on the Irish and world stage. “We aim to change the retail offering for Irish consumers. Up to now we have international brands using globally sourced oat syrup. Now we have an Irish oat drink that is exceptionally better for gut health and nutrition, made by local food processors, using milled Irish oat flour.”
Research commissioned by Liam Lynam in developing the new oat milk drink showed over 3 in 5 people are concerned about having too much sugar in their diet, while Gen Z and Millennials are concerned about too much dairy.
Over half of all adults claim to consume dairy free milks; rising to over 7 in 10 amongst Gen Z and Millennials. Adding dairy free milk to breakfast cereal or porridge is the most common use (56%), followed by adding it to tea or coffee (47%). Three in 10 claim to consume dairy free milk daily, with the highest everyday consumption among younger generations.
In Ireland, non-dairy milk sales in 2020 amounted to €68m, and the global market is estimated to be worth $2.2bn by 2024 with sales growing 20% every year.
Oat in the City is now available in the chilled cabinet in SuperValu stores nationwide as well independent retailers, including Nolan's of Clontarf and Donnybrook Fair, and Aldi stores nationwide from June. See www.oatinthecity.ie for new stockists.