Scottish oat milk producers have formed an association to develop new markets and help them compete with large international brands.
A Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) project, which spent six months supporting micro producers who are making perishable fresh oat milk, found that logistical challenges mean the businesses are only supplying their individual local markets.
Now the project, supported by SAC Consulting, has culminated in the formation of an Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers in Scotland.
He added: “The industry in Scotland is in its infancy and must compete with large international brands like Alpro and Oatley.
“By collaborating, the individual niche manufacturers will be able to share resources and help the fledging industry compete against the large multinational competitors.”
Alex Baldwin from Untitled Oats in Edinburgh, one of the participants in the meetings, said there were opportunities for the new group to grow by sharing legal expertise, joint research and marketing, or joint use of a UHT facility.
NFU Scotland’s combinable crops committee chair, Willie Thomson, who farms at Wheatrig, Longniddry, welcomed the development of an independent oat milk association.
“This is an opportunity for Scottish farmers to tap into a growing market for Scottish oats as part of a healthy diet,” he said.
“Scottish oats have a great history, reputation and heritage, and this new innovation creates the exciting potential to market our high quality product to a growing customer base.”
The collaboration is also expected to benefit the sector in joint discussions with government bodies, or when applying for funding for projects or positioning the sector to compete against dairy and other plant milks.