Wide Open Agriculture closer to commercialising ‘world first’ regenerative plant-based oat milk
Western Australia-based Wide Open Agriculture’s (ASX: WOA) world first regenerative plant-based oat milk is closer to commercialisation after the company revealed the final recipe formulations had arrived from its European manufacturer.
Additionally, laboratory testing has confirmed the formulation meets Wide Open Agriculture’s Dirty Clean Food brand’s nutritional criteria, with the milk fortified with calcium, riboflavin, and vitamins D and B12.
The company said its oat milk nutritional profile closely aligns with dairy milk and is suitable for vegans, with the added benefit of no added sugar, diary, soy, nuts, gums or stabilisers.
Wide Open Agriculture is in the final stages of branding, packaging and marketing for the milk, and plans to launch the product Australia-wide before the end of the year.
This is expected to be followed by distribution into South East Asia in 2021.
‘Ideal’ diary milk substitute
As well as meeting the company’s nutritional requirements, the milk has a high capacity for frothing, which Wide Open Agriculture claims makes it ideal for baristas and home coffee machines.
The milk is also “ideal” for cereal, baking and smoothies due to its “superior creamy flavour” and texture.
Wide Open Agriculture noted its oat milk would also be the world’s first to be made using Western Australian regeneratively farmed oats.
The company added it “compares well” with other dairy and non-dairy milk alternatives, with the added advantage of a much smaller environmental impact due to fewer inputs, less water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
‘Overwhelmingly positive’ product feedback
To test the milk in the market, Wide Open Agriculture has had baristas and retailers evaluate the product.
“Launching the world’s first regenerative plant-based milk using West Australian oats into a multi-billion dollar drink category is an exhilarating step for Wide Open Agriculture,” managing director Dr Ben Cole said.
“The market feedback on our final recipe has been overwhelmingly positive and validates our proposition that West Australian regenerative oats are some of the best in the world for flavour and nutritional value,” he added.
Government grant to accelerate commercialisation
In order to accelerate its commercialisation of the oat milk, Wide Open Agriculture has collared a $20,000 grant from the Western Australian Government’s Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund.
The company plans to use the funds to underpin a feasibility study into developing an oat milk manufacturing facility in the state.
As part of this, Wide Open Agriculture will match the grant to contribute towards completing the study.
While the company is working on the study, it will continue working with its European manufacture, which will produce the milk for initial sales.
“The feasibility is a vital step in achieving our goal of bringing oat milk production into West Australia,” Dr Cole explained.
“Local manufacturing would allow Wide Open Agriculture to produce and oat milk product with the highest possible environmental credentials and provenance for distribution across Australia and South East Asian markets.”
“It would also improve our margin and volume capacities and open the door to other opportunities in the plant-based milk space,” he added.
Oat milk market
Wide Open Agriculture is targeting the global multi-billion-dollar oat milk industry with its world first product.
The oat market is predicted to be valued at US$1.6 billion by 2024, driven by consumers becoming more health and environmentally conscious.
Markets in the US and Europe are rapidly growing, with increasing investment in the industry.
Wide Open Agriculture noted that earlier this month, Swedish oat milk manufacturer Oatly had secured $200 million in new capital – boosting its market value to around $2 billion.