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Oat Drink vs. Oat Milk

Why we don’t ‘fortify’

When designing our new PureOaty oat drink, our philosophy was to create something really pure and simple, with as few unnecessary extras as possible. That’s how it ended up with just four simple ingredients: gluten free oats, water, sunflower oil and a touch of salt.

We were uncompromising in keeping to a short list of ingredients, but that doesn’t mean we had to make compromises in the end result: PureOaty is a plant-based alternative to dairy milk which has a creamy flavour, a mild natural sweetness (with no added sugar) and the ability to create a stable microfoam for frothy barista style coffee.

It’s exactly what we set out to do. And all achieved with no added sugar and no gums or other additives thrown into the mix. Rather than adding in all these ‘extras’ the trick was in refining the process till we got it right.

Nonetheless, one big question we had to consider along the way was whether we should ‘fortify’ our oat drink to mimic the nutritional profile of traditional dairy milk.

Dairy milk is high in specific proteins, animal lipids and calcium and this has led many manufacturers of plant-based alternatives to attempt to mirror the perceived benefits of these nutrients by adding to their ingredients list.
One common approach, for example, is to add calcium carbonate (that’s chalk to you and me) in order to tick the calcium box.

Yet the detail is important here. Calcium in this form is not readily absorbed by the body – unless, that is, other exotic ingredients are then also added into the mix to help it pass from the gut into the bloodstream.

That’s the thing about food fortification: one thing tends to lead to another and the consumer can quickly end up with a long list of ingredients on the side of pack which can sound mysterious, or even disquieting.

Ultimately, it is our belief that the well-informed consumer will pick up the nutrients they need through a varied and balanced diet. The food industry has an obligation to be transparent about the genuine nutritional qualities their products offer and the general public can then make informed choices. Trust is key, and simplicity helps support this.

This is particularly true in the case of plant-based consumers, who tend to think very carefully about the food they eat and are well-informed about balanced nutrition.

That’s why we took the call not to fortify PureOaty, and instead developed a product that is as simple as possible. Furthermore we already know that oats are blessed with their own nutritional benefits – being rich in fibre, slow release energy and heart-protecting beta glucan.

So we aren’t pretending to be milk and nor do we want to be. We’re confident in presenting something purely and simply different. And that’s PureOaty.

Don’t use the M word!

Glebe Farm Gluten Free Oat Drink 1l

Plant based alternatives to dairy milk are growing in popularity with oat variants in particular winning many loyal supporters. This is particularly the case amongst the most discerning of audiences: the coffee-lover.
In comparison to other non-dairy alternatives, oats do not separate when added to hot beverages and have a milder, creamy flavour that complements coffee – rather than overpowering it, which can be the case with other alternatives such as soy and coconut.

We are particularly delighted that, after many months experimenting with the production process, our new PureOaty froths in seconds to create a stable microfoam that doesn’t split and that works perfectly in coffee. All this without us adding sugars, gums or extra nasties. It’s purely British gluten free oats, water, sunflower oil and a trace of salt.

But is it milk? Can we say we’ve created an ‘oat milk’?

Well, EU and UK trading authorities are pretty clear on that front: milk comes from cows and other mammals, and so anything that isn’t derived from animals cannot be labelled as such. What’s more, dairy milk has a pretty unique nutritional profile designed to sustain young mammals through their first weeks on the planet – and we don’t want to add extra things into our PureOaty in an attempt to try and mimic this (see recent article ‘Why we don’t ‘fortify”).
So we won’t be referring to it as milk, and we won’t be pretending it’s the same as traditional dairy by calling it ‘mylk’, ‘m*lk’ or any other variant of the original M-word. It’s PureOaty oat drink – pure and simple. However, you can use it in exactly the same way you would milk. It works a treat in coffee, as well as smoothies, on cereals, and in cooking. It’s also vegan and gluten free which adds to its versatility.

We hope you like it – please let us know what you think

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PureOaty Wins Listing In 50 Co-Op Stores

Glebe Farm Foods has secured listings for its PureOaty oat drink in 50 Co-Op Central England stores.

PureOaty is a gluten free oat drink made from British gluten free British oats at Glebe Farm in Cambridgeshire and it started to roll out across the network of Co-op stores in April.

Rebecca Rayner, Director at Glebe Farm Foods: “We are absolutely thrilled with this new listing in 50 Central England Co-Op stores. The Co-Op is a proud supporter of British farmers and produce, as well as championing health and wellbeing for their customers. PureOaty is therefore the perfect fit. Over the last few months, the demand for our British grown and made oat drink has soared and we are really excited that Co-Op customers will now have the opportunity to enjoy it as well.”

Glebe Farm Gluten Free Oat Drink 1l

Consumers are embracing British grown and made products more than ever, especially over the last couple of months, as they have taken to finding local products to meet their needs. Recent research from HIM* suggested that the impact of Brexit would encourage more consumers to buy British and six in ten consumers agreed they were more likely to buy something if it was locally sourced. Surmising that this can only have increased over the last couple of months as the retail industry has struggled to maintain supply, the latest HIM PULSE Report suggests that a new community spirit has emerged which could translate into greater demand for locally sourced products, benefitting small businesses and local economies.

Rebecca concludes:
“Everyone has pulled together to meet consumer demand and it feels really good to have been able to help our customers through this difficult time. To have gained new listings as well is just incredible. We’re a small business based near Cambridge and we’ve felt an overwhelming positivity towards our products over the last few months. As well as championing British made and owned, our philosophy of controlling ‘seed to shelf’ is crucial to our business and our PureOaty is a delicious plant-based alternative to milk using only four ingredients: British Oats, Water, Sunflower Oil and a pinch of Salt. It was developed to work perfectly with coffee and it also tastes great in porridge and in baking. We recently expanded our farm and with a new multi-million-pound production facility, we are well prepared for future demand.”

As well as its coffee credentials, PureOaty also proves the ideal dairy-free ingredient to use in a wide variety of culinary applications, from sauces and soups through to baking and desserts.

PureOaty is suitable for vegans, as well as offering an excellent plant-based option for those with lactose intolerance, coeliac disease and nut allergies. Glebe Farm Foods is the largest certified gluten free oat manufacturer in Europe and supplies oats and cereals to many retailers and foodservice operators across the UK and Europe.

For further information on PureOaty or other products in the Glebe Farm Foods range please go to or call +44 (01487 773282.

*HIM Shopper. Pulse Updates. Coronavirus Highlighting the Impact of Local. 15th May 2020

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Glebe Farm During COVID-19: Managing Surge in Orders and Our Thanks to Frontline NHS Workers

Glebe Farm has seen a surge in orders of gluten free porridge oats, granola and oat drink since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Demand from existing channels and has been supplemented by online outlets such as our new Amazon store. We have also been able to support local customers directly – although the strict distancing rules mean the interaction is not quite as personal as normal!

Home baking has become hugely popular during lock-down, and with long shelf lives and healthy nutritional profile, our oat products fall firmly into the ‘pantry staple’ category – making our products a natural place to turn to in these times of uncertainty.

Rebecca Rayner said: “To say we’ve been inundated with orders is an understatement. Ramping up every element of our business, from manufacture and quality control to packing and order processing, all at the same time has required some business skills that we didn’t know we even had.”

Fulfilling orders has involved moving many of the office crew to work from home to meet self isolating guidance, whilst simultaneously doubling shifts at the farm for key workers managing physical order handling to ensure we can meet retail and customer orders.

Glebe Farm has also recently donated a range of its gluten free porridge oats and granolas to staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital to help ensure they have access to nutritious and healthy food.

Rebecca continues: “We are all indebted to those on the frontline. This includes colleagues on the farm, through to delivery drivers, retailers and, of course, to the quite extraordinary workers in the NHS. We’ve seen reports of staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital working long and challenging hours and sometimes having difficult getting hold of wholesome food after coming off shift. So we wanted to show our gratitude by ensuring they receive a nutritious start, or end, to their day.”

“Our thoughts are with all those dealing with very difficult circumstances at the current time.”

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Plant-based surge drives Glebe Farm site expansion

The rise in plant-based goods has led to Glebe Farm Foods commencing work on a multi-million pound development of its existing gluten-free oat production site.

In response to the burgeoning sales of its gluten-free oat drink, the firm said the planned development was key to furthering growth of the business.

A spokeswoman told Food Manufacturer that the rise of wider plant-based and health foods made the move an obvious decision.

It falls down to the rise in plant-based drink consumption, she said: ‘You only have to look in the shops to see the explosion of the sector.’

The new development in Cambridgeshire, which has yet to have a completion date, will see a complete overhaul of the structure, with the latest machinery built to the firm’s required specifications.

We are Europe’s biggest grower, miller and producer of certified gluten-free oats, supplying over 30 countries worldwide with British-grown oat products of the highest quality’ said Rebecca Rayner, managing director of Glebe Farm Foods.

Seed to shelf philosophy

Our seed-to-shelf philosophy is central to our business and as the oat category, especially oat drinks, continues to evolve, it is crucial that we invest in our site, so we have invested several million pounds to future-proof our business.’

Work has begun on the new physical structure and we have the latest machinery currently being built to our specifications and ready to install over the next few months, giving us increased capacity to produce our oat drink to meet this demand.’

In the UK alone, oat drinks are showing strong year-on-year growth in retail, up 72.9% according to Kantar data, and predictions are for a very bright future in foodservice for the non-dairy alternative. 

As previously reported by Food Manufacture, the Chilled Foods Association (CFA) has reported a continued rise in sales in the sector, with the surge in vegetarian and healthier options significantly boosting the upturn.

Original article by Dan Colombini 17-Oct-2019 William Reed Business Media Ltd