Oat Milk Processing: Exploring Trends & Innovations
August 10, 2023
Author: Annabel Norris, Marketing Manager
The rise in popularity of Oat Milk
The surge in demand for oat milk and other ‘free-from’ food and beverages in recent years has expanded the offerings on supermarket and café shelves. This expansion has been a game-changer for those adopting a dairy-free diet, with non-dairy milks such as oat, almond, coconut, and soya becoming staple alternatives. The shift toward plant-based foods has largely been driven by factors such as allergies, intolerance, the quest for healthier options, and the desire to reduce environmental footprints.
In the past, these beverages weren’t readily available off-the-shelf. However, food producers have tapped into this trend, leading to a significant demand for equipment that can manufacture these alternative products to a high standard and in large volumes.
The Challenges with Oat Milk Processing
DC Norris has spent over 50 years helping food and beverage producers innovate their equipment to meet the tastes and demands of today’s consumer. One of the biggest challenges plant-based beverage producers face is replicating the desirable attributes of animal milk, such as creaminess, texture, taste, and health benefits. With different chemical compositions – fat, protein, carbohydrate, and minerals in milk versus oil bodies in plant-based products – it’s a challenge to replicate the qualities of animal milk. This process requires additional machines, steps, and additives. To meet consumer demands, ensure safety, and deliver a high-quality product, the right machinery and operational processes are crucial.
The traditional oat milk production process is a complex, multi-stage operation that can include pre-soaking oats, heating, homogenisation, adding amylase, and a holding stage, followed by a final heating to denature the amylase before cooling and filling.
Our Jet Cook is an innovative solution to the challenges of plant-based beverage production. It reduces risk factors and ensures consistent high-quality output. Jet Cook uses a patented steam system (the Jet Nozzle) that simultaneously heats, mixes, and pumps the product earning substantial energy savings while not compromising on flavour.
Investing in Jet Cook offers oat milk manufacturers a quick return on investment with a multitude of benefits, including reduced production times of up to 50%, 45-55% energy-savings, 8-10% reduction in ingredient additions like amylase and salt, reduced cleaning times and chemical usage, and less water usage.
A Real-World Example – Jet Cook Oat Milk Production
In 2019, a world-leading ambient beverage manufacturer sought our expertise to improve their grain-based beverage production. Their objectives were to match the existing product flavour, achieve a creamier mouthfeel and smoother texture, and reduce the long processing stages and times. We ran processing trials at our Product Development Kitchens in both the UK and Cape Town South Africa prior to installation, ensuring we met their requirements. The system we proposed has the capacity to produce 15,000lt p/h, increasing their throughput and reducing energy and water usage. This resulted in a return on their initial investment within just 12 months.
Jet Cook: A Quick Return on Investment
As plant-based beverage production continues to grow, investing in our Jet Cook™ or other industry-leading cooking equipment will equip your business to produce delicious, safe, high-quality products efficiently and cost-effectively.
Now that you have a better understanding of oat milk production and the cutting-edge solutions DC Norris offers, why not take the next step?
Get in touch: Our team of experts is always ready to discuss how our solutions can meet your unique needs. Contact us today for more information.