Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) will soon be delivering Western Australia’s first regenerative oat milk, with an exclusive launch planned for later this month followed by a state-wide launch through WA in November.
In a statement to the market this morning, Wide Open Agriculture said it had successfully finalised its oat milk recipe and positive market testing with leading baristas, retailers and distributors, and added that its European manufacturer had finalised packaging decisions and completed production planning for the first commercial batch of its OatUp oat milk.
The first production run of the new product has been airfreighted to WA for an exclusive launch later this month.
A “state-wide launch” is anticipated for November with the arrival of the bulk sea freight consignment, coinciding with the Christmas holiday period, which traditionally sees higher food and beverage sales.
According to the food company, OatUp is the world’s first oat milk produced using WA oats sourced from farmers committed to regenerative farming practices.
OatUp is being branded as a “regenerative” – a method of farming that prioritises soil health and biodiversity by returning carbon and nutrients to the ground.
In many respects, the technique transcends traditional agricultural farming to deliver what’s known as “permaculture” – a principles-based approach to producing crops centred on holistic methods and wholly sustainable growing techniques.
Moreover, Wide Open Agriculture also confirmed it is actively attempting to certify OatUp as carbon neutral, which would classify the new brand as the world’s first carbon-neutral certified oat milk.
As part of a concerted attempt to exemplify its naturalistic core principles, Wide Open Agriculture said it chose OatUp’s branding specifically to reflect its environmental credentials and to validate the proposition that WA regenerative oats are comparatively superior to other varieties.
“Launching our first packaged product, into the $2.8 billion plant-based milk category is an immense step forward for Wide Open Agriculture,” managing director Ben Cole said.
“OatUp will offer a new pathway for WA’s regenerative oat growers to reach conscious food consumers in Australia and Asia,” he added.
Prepping for take-off
In a bid to boost sales and ensure broad-based brand recognition, Wide Open Agriculture intends to utilise its established and specialised direct-to-consumer distribution platform as an “instant sales channel” for the OatUp launch, with supermarkets, cafes and restaurants to be the focus of November’s state-wide launch.
The food company also confirmed that it is currently engaged in “advanced discussions” with a food and beverage distributor based in WA, to further expand the number of outlets carrying the new brand.
Further afield, Wide Open Agriculture noted that following its WA market launch, it has identified a “significant opportunity” to extend OatUp sales to other Australian states, and, most importantly from a commercial perspective, to sell to Asian markets including Japan, South Korea, Singapore and China – countries that have demonstrated strong demand for high-quality foreign oat products.
Given current consumer preferences, Wide Open Agriculture said its OatUp milk has the potential of being a major disruptor to other plant-based milks such as soy and almond due to its “superior creamy flavour and ability to froth”.
Australia’s partiality for gourmet coffee served with frothy milk, in tandem with a growing number of health-conscious consumers, could serve as ideal catalysts for the new OatUp brand.
To upscale production and sales over the long-term, while also securing self-sufficiency, Wide Open Agriculture revealed that it is currently undertaking a feasibility study investigating the construction of an oat milk manufacturing facility in WA.
The study has been supported by a grant from the WA Government and aligns with Wide Open Agriculture’s vision to bolster food industry development in the state.
A dedicated manufacturing facility would likely reduce carbon emissions as part of production and distribution, improve operational efficiency and margins while allowing for transparent provenance and traceability with “grown and made in Australia” branding, the company said.