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Eating healthy oats in new ways

Monday 26 August, 2019

AEGIC is an independent, not-for-profit company established in 2012 to increase value in the Australian grains industry. We gather, analyse and share market intelligence the industry needs to breed, classify, grow and supply grain that markets prefer. Australian grain growers are AEGIC’s primary beneficiary. We deliver value to them by:

    • securing current market share by supporting international customers so they can optimise the value of using Australian grain;
    • identifying new markets and future opportunities for Australian grain;
    • identifying the grain quality requirements of millers, processors, maltsters and brewers to ensure Australian grain meets their needs; and
    • innovating to develop new products and opportunities for Australian grain.

Wholesome, healthy Chinese-style noodles made from the humble oat could increase value for Australian oat growers to the tune of $20 million a year.

AEGIC’s oat experts have been hard at work developing high-percentage oat noodles aimed at increasingly wealthy and healthy Chinese consumers.

The idea behind the project grew out of the fact that middle class Chinese consumers are increasingly interested in health and nutrition, and they’re prepared to pay for quality products. It’s all about elevating oats from the breakfast table to lunch and dinner to something more.

So far, AEGIC’s oat gurus have successfully created high-quality dried noodles with an oat flour ratio greater than 50%.

Wheat gluten is important in noodles for good texture and mouthfeel. The lack of gluten in oats is a challenge for noodles, so AEGIC’s innovation to achieve high-percentage oat flour is a great result.

The oat noodles developed by AEGIC have an excellent shelf life, they look good, they’re healthy, and most importantly they taste delicious!

The project also returned some great results in processing oat “rice”. Oat rice is created through a special process to remove to the outer bran layer of oat grains, while achieving a shelf-stable and nutritious product. The resulting product can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to traditional rice – but has more healthy nutrients, such as beta-glucan.

High quality milling oats can attract a premium of around $20/tonne. If Australia captured 50% of the expected future market growth, this could generate an extra $20 million each year for the Australian oats industry*.

Overall, the project is showing encouraging results for a number of Australian oat varieties.

This research is a co-investment between Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and AEGIC.

*Estimation — assumes a milling oats price of $250/tonne

AEGIC is an investment of the Australian Government through the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), and the Western Australian Government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). 

Picture: AEGIC Oat Program Manager Mark Tucek and Research Scientist Dr Sabori Mitra with some oat risotto and oat noodles prepared in the AEGIC labs.