Spotlight on oat milk. Why is oat milk so popular?

Alex | July 21, 2022

More people than ever are switching to vegan diets and opting for foods that are more sustainably produced. This shift in consumer behaviour has meant that plant-based milks have been growing in popularity for the last decade or so. People are moving away from dairy to plant-based milk at an astonishing rate. There are lots of different plant-based milk on the market from almond, soy, coconut, rice, pea, potato and more! We’re taking a look at the most popular plant-based milk in the UK – oat milk.

How popular is oat milk?

Brits spent an estimated £146 million (equivalent to US$199.3 million) on oat milk in 2020, up from £74 million in 2019. The second most popular to oat milk is almond milk which also eclipsed the £100 million mark. It rose from £96 million in 2019 to £105 million last year.

Overall, all plant-based milk sales in the UK, which includes oat and almond as well as others, reached an estimated £394 million. That’s a 32% increase from 2019. Traditional cow’s milk sales however are still the UK’s favourite with estimated sales at £3.2 billion.

And why has oat milk become so popular?

There are a number of reasons why oat milk has taken the top spot. Firstly oat milk is fairly similar in taste to cow’s milk so people who are making the switch won’t notice too much of a difference. Along with the rise in veganism, more people are finding out that they are lactose intolerant so oat milk is a good alternative to dairy. It’s quite healthy to drink and although it’s more expensive than cow’s milk, it doesn’t seem to damage its appeal!

Price

Overall, the retail price of plant-based milk is roughly twice that of dairy milk, according to Mintec, which analyzes food commodity price data. The higher price can be attributed to packaging. Plus, they have a more expensive blending and bottling process so those costs are passed on to the consumer. Soy milk is the cheapest plant-based milk and oat milk is mid-price.

Health

Nearly 1 in 4 Brits believe plant-based milks to be healthier than cow’s milk, and half agree one’s choice in milk (animal vs. plant-based) contributes to the health of the environment. Specifically, oat milk is pretty healthy and good for you. It’s high in protein and contains a number of other nutrients, although some are added during manufacturing. It’s often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, both of which can benefit your bones. Calcium is essential for strong bones because it’s the main mineral used to form them.

It’s also packed full of fibre and protein so it can support a healthy digestive system. It is not suitable for everyone though. For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you shouldn’t necessarily assume that oat milk is gluten-free. Some oats are processed on shared equipment, so look for the GF symbol on the packaging to be sure that the product meets strict gluten-free standards.

It’s fairly low in calories (130 calls per cup), low in fat, and sugar and it’s high in protein. Although the sugar is natural, oat milk is high in carbohydrates so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re on a low-carb diet.

Some reports have found that drinking oat milk every day could even support your heart health. That’s because oats help to regulate blood sugar, reduce levels of cholesterol, and can help to keep your blood pressure normal.

Taste

The flavour of oat milk is surprisingly like cow’s milk although it’s a little sweeter. It’s creamy in texture so makes it perfect for coffee, plus it doesn’t overpower the taste like some other plant-based milks can do. Oat milk a favourite for baristas as well because it makes a good foam. It’s possibly the best plant-based milk to use for milky coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

Where can I get oat milk from?

Ten years ago, you’d have struggled to buy a carton of oat milk, but today it’s available in every high street coffee shop and supermarket. There are lots of brands to choose from. Most large supermarkets now make their own branded oat milk. The oat milk brands to try include Minor Figures, Alpro, Oatly, Innocent, Moma, Rude Health and more.

If you’re managing an office and you’re responsible for your team’s refreshments, it’s a good idea to provide a plant-based milk alternative. With the growing popularity of going dairy free, it can help cater to all your team’s requirements. You can pick up oat milk from our online shop.