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Oat Drink: An Alternative Or The New Standard?

Oat Drink: An Alternative Or The New Standard?
Why you should rethink your dairy consumption, and consider the benefits of switching to Oat Drink – for you and the planet 
 
While in 2020 the oat milk market size was already valued at USD 2.23 billion, forecasts expect an expansion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.2% from 2020 to 2028 which would result in a market size of USD 6.45 billion [1]. 
Reasons for the rising demand for dairy alternatives include climate change mitigation, animal welfare, increasing interest in plant-based diets, and an alarming rise in food intolerances such as lactose intolerance. We just reached a world population of 8 billion resulting in increasing demand, especially in urban areas, and food safety concerns. According to experts, the increase in diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity, and vitamin deficiencies will further drive the demand for plant-based milk in the future [1]. This article focuses on oat drinks and their potential to become the new standard for you, and the planet. 
 
Food intolerances are on the rise. According to estimations around 70 – 75 percent of global citizens are affected by lactose intolerance [2]. For those affected, oat drinks are a very attractive choice, as they are free of lactose, soy and nuts. Moreover, oats are considered as being nutritious and healthy with diverse and essential macronutrients:  17% protein, 7% fat, 66% carbohydrates, 11% dietary fiber, and 4% beta-glucans [3]. Research shows that the prebiotic effect of oats supports gut health and beta-glucans can help lowering blood cholesterol levels, which are often linked to heart diseases [4,5,6]. 
 
According to the EAT-Lancet Commission, “food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth [7].” While 35 % of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the food system [8], plant-based products have the potential to be 120 times more CO2 efficient than animal products [9].  
 
Why do oat drinks have the potential to save so much CO2 in comparison to cow’s milk or other milk alternatives? 
 
Less resources needed  
  • In a typical European diet, dairy is responsible for just over 25 % of the carbon footprint, sometimes nearly one-third [10]. One liter of dairy milk is equivalent to 3.15 kg of CO2 measured across the entire supply chain, which includes land use change, on-farm production, processing, transportation, and packaging [10]. In comparison, one liter oat drink produces less than a third with only 0.9 kg CO2 [10]. 
  • Oats are undemanding to cultivate and the production of the final product requires 92 % less fresh water than dairy or other milk alternatives [11]. As more than a quarter of the world’s population has no regular access to clean water, this is a measure not only relevant for our planet, but also for society. 
  • 83 % of the total land needed for our nutrition is used to produce meat, dairy or eggs, and other animal-based foods [12]. Comparing the production of cow’s milk and oat drink proves that for 1 L of cow’s milk, 10 times more land is needed than for 1 L of oat drink [13]. 
 
Reduced transportation through regional sourcing 
 
Besides the lower amount of resources needed to produce the final product, oat drinks can benefit from less intensive cultivation conditions that improve the efficiency and yield of  regional farming. Consequently, CO2 can be saved due to minimized transport distance. Nonetheless, for an overall CO2 impact assessment, besides regionality and seasonality, the processing procedure needs to be considered. Regional cultivation of oats can be considered high-yield, require less caring and other management, and can grow on all kinds of soil without chemical fertilizer. Even if oat cultivation is resource-efficient, low in energy demand and easy to execute, according to the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE), Germany must still import significant quantities of oat per year, e.g. as livestock feed. In 2019/20 Germany imported 600,000 tons of oats [13]. A change in how we source our food is desperately needed. 
 
And now it is your turn: just alternative or new standard? Keep in mind that small changes can have a big impact - for you and the planet.  



Isabell Schastok of Hoaly Foods GmbH (author of this article) shares:
Oat habits are the new habits - and we love it! With HOALY we want to turn an alternative into the new standard and enable people to reduce their daily CO2 footprint.  
 
As of now, HOALY developed three products: a classic oat drink, a barista oat drink and a golden oat drink with turmeric, ginger and cinnamon - all regional, organic, climate- positive and without artificial additives. As an example, you can save 320 g CO2 per Cappuccino with our oat drink in comparison to cow’s milk.  
 
Besides delicious, climate-positive and clean products, our ambition is to strengthen agriculture in Germany and thus, secure our local resources. Therefore, we strongly collaborate with local and organic-certified farmers. Together, we maximize the production of healthy soil and thus, the storage of CO2 in the ground. We give farmers the unique opportunity to run a commercially viable operation, while actively contributing to carbon binding in the soil.  
 
With the product-love-brand we build, with their help, educates consumers on regenerative agriculture and allows consumers to live more sustainably by making conscious purchase decisions. 


Author: Isabell Schastok, Hoaly Foods GmbH 
 
Sources: 
  1. Oat Milk Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Source (Organic, Conventional), By Product (Plain, Flavored), By Packaging (Cartons, Bottle), By Distribution Channel, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 - 2028 
  2. https://www.infomedizin.de/krankheiten/laktoseintoleranz/ 
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169705/nutrients 
  4. Onning G, Wallmark A, Persson M, Akesson B, Elmståhl S, Oste R. Consumption of oat milk for 5 weeks lowers serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in free-living men with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Ann Nutr Metab. 1999;43(5):301-9. doi: 10.1159/000012798. PMID: 10749030. 
  5. Ms Wolever T, Rahn M, Dioum E, Spruill SE, Ezatagha A, Campbell JE, Jenkins AL, Chu Y. An Oat β-Glucan Beverage Reduces LDL Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Men and Women with Borderline High Cholesterol: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. J Nutr. 2021 Sep 4;151(9):2655-2666. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab154. PMID: 34236436. 
  6. Tosh SM, Bordenave N. Emerging science on benefits of whole grain oat and barley and their soluble dietary fibers for heart health, glycemic response, and gut microbiota. Nutr Rev. 2020 Aug 1;78(Suppl 1):13-20. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz085. PMID: 32728756. 
  7. EAT-Lancet Commission, Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems: Food Planet Health, p.5 
  8. Costa, C., Wollenberg, E., Benitez, M. et al. Roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions in global food systems by 2050. Sci Rep 12, 2022 
  9. Christopher J. Bryant, Plant-based animal product alternatives are healthier and more environmentally sustainable than animal products, Future Foods, Volume 6, 2022 
  10. https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impact-milks 
  11. Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science. 
  12. J. Poore, T. Nemecek (2018): Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, abrufbar unter https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aaq0216. [21.01.2022]. 
  13. J. Poore, T. Nemecek (2018): Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, abrufbar unter https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aaq0216. [21.01.2022]. 
  14. https://www.agrarheute.com/markt/marktfruechte/haferpreise-rekordkurs-weltmarkt-europa-585713 

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.