By Gordon Davidson

WORK IS under way to help Scottish oat growers seize the opportunities offered by the public's new enthusiasm for alternatives to conventional milk from dairy cows.

The possibilities for a Scottish oat milk brand were the focus of a recent Rural Innovation Support Service group which is in the process of establishing an Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers in Scotland.

Senior consultant with SAC Consulting, Alistair Trail, who facilitated the group, said: “The group started because SAC Consulting was receiving a lot of enquires from farmers and businesses interested in developing a Scottish oat milk from seeing the success of other brands.

“There are currently no large-scale manufacturers of oat milk in Scotland," noted Mr Trail.

"A small number of micro businesses in Scotland are producing perishable fresh oat milk and the logistical challenges of cold-chain delivery mean that these businesses are only supplying their individual, local markets.

“By collaborating, as part of the Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers, member businesses will be able to get involved in several areas which can help the sector grow in Scotland.”

The RISS project, which ran from August to December last year, consisted of meetings with various guest speakers, with an aim of providing an opportunity for collaboration, knowledge exchange and to discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities they face.

“The industry in Scotland is in its infancy and must compete with large international brands like Alpro and Oatley," said Mr Trail.

"By collaborating, the individual niche manufacturers will be able to share resources and help the fledging industry compete against the large multinational competitors."

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