by Kennadee Wilkie
What Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a type of plant milk developed from whole oat grains by extracting the plant material with water. It is a vegan alternative that is quickly becoming a favourite in the coffee community with baristas and consumers alike.
Who is Minor Figures?
Minor Figures is one of the leading brands in the United Kingdom coffee world. They create products designed for coffee professionals and enthusiasts. Their products are aimed at both customers and professionals, and blur the lines dividing the two, as the overlap between the needs of customers and baristas continue to increase. Minor Figures celebrates individuality, curiosity, and enthusiasm, which has allowed them to create a strong brand with a hint of mystery. They want their products to surprise and delight people, and strive to make these products both delicious and nutritious. All Minor Figures products are 100% plant based with no added sugar, and despite these characteristics, Minor Figures ensures there is no compromise on flavour, quality, or innovation.
What is Minor Figures Oat Milk?
Minor Figures oat milk was specifically formulated by baristas for baristas. It is fully foamable, and steams and pours like whole milk - a barista’s dream! Minor Figures oat milk allows you to be in total control of the density and performance of your foam so that you can showcase your best latte art skills. Like other Minor Figures products, their oat milk is plant-based, dairy-free, lactose-free, and free from animal protein. There are no added sugars, and the sweet flavour comes from sugar naturally occuring in the oats. Minor Figures is one of three companies in the world that can use the patented enzyme-process of producing the oat milk product.
What About Gluten?
Minor Figures has strict requirements to monitor and minimize gluten contamination, and therefore they can guarantee that their oat milk contains less than 100ppm of gluten from rye, wheat, and barley. However, for a product to be labeled as gluten-free they must contain no more than 20ppm of gluten, and although none of the ingredients in Minor Figures oat milk directly contain gluten, they cannot guarantee that they are gluten-free and instead are categorized as being very low in gluten.
Is it Organic?
The Barista edition of Minor Figures oat milk is not certified organic, however….there is a new variation of Minor Figures oat milk that is just beginning to be released that is the first oat milk in the world that is certified organic!
Is Oat Milk Good With Coffee?
Oat milk is quickly becoming the star in trendy coffee shops. It is the best companion for specialty coffee, and is popular to drink because of the creaminess in coffee, cappuccinos, or lattes. With some milk alternatives, you can’t taste the coffee characteristics, or the milk curdles. Almond and soy masks poorly-extracted coffee, but oat lets coffee speak for itself. When the roast profile, coffee origin, grind setting, etc. is adjusted, you will taste it with Minor Figures oat milk, just as it is intended. Coffee is a fruit; if you value the growers, the processing, the roasting, and have pulled the perfect shot, don’t compromise it and mask the flavour with a heavy milk product, instead allow the espresso’s brightness and natural character to be expressed with every drink made. Minor Figures oat milk effectively balances the acidity of espresso, without compromising the flavour and quality of the coffee. It blends fantastically with espresso-based beverages without splitting, allowing you to craft gorgeous latte art with a smooth, creamy taste. Oat milk contains an acidity called dipotassium phosphate which ensures that it doesn’t separate when combined with an acidic drink such as coffee. Oat milk is favoured by baristas as their faux milk of choice thanks to oat milk’s mouthfeel, taste, and foaming ability to swirl into latte art.
What Else Can Oat Milk Be Used For?
Not everyone owns or works within a cafe or market. Some people don’t even like coffee! So what else is Minor Figures oat milk good with?
Oat milk may be used as a substitute for dairy milks wherever you see fit! It tastes just as amazing in a latte than it does straight-up, in your cereal, or used in cooking. Oat milk is perfect for use in savory recipes! It is a fantastic option for thickening soups and stews. It can also be used in cooking such as pancakes, mashed potatoes, or casseroles. Oat milk can be used as a substitute in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. It is great in smoothies or protein shakes, and also for use in baked goods.
What are Oat Milk’s Qualities and Benefits?
Nutritional information (per 200ml)
Calories - 96
Energy - 410 kJ
Total Fat - 4.2 g
Saturated Fat - 0.4 g
Carbohydrates - 19.0 g
Natural Sugars - 9.0 g
Protein - 0.4 g
Salt - 0.2 g
Calcium - 240 mg
Water, Oats, Low-Erucic Acid Rapeseed Oil, Calcium Phosphate, Tribasic, Calcium Carbonate, Salt
Low in calories, cholesterol-free, and free of soy, nut, dairy, and coconut, Minor Figures oat milk is also rich in unsaturated fat and helps maintain a recommended cholesterol level. There are no emulsifiers or other additives. Minor Figures oat milk is not overly sweet or excessively heavy. It has a smooth and creamy texture and an obvious oatmeal-like flavour. Oat milk froths into stable-textured foam with few bubbles that is easy to pour. Sweet, thick, and rich, with a nice mouthfeel and a mild flavour. Oat milk has many health benefits thanks to the oats within, and these benefits include soluble fiber and vitamins.
The Benefits of Oats:
Oats have received extensive interest due to the presence of dietary fibers, phytochemicals, and high nutritive value. They are also one of the promising raw materials for preparation of functional plant-based milk because of its health benefits. It possesses various health benefits such as hypocholesterolemic and anti-cancerous properties. Oats are nutritious, and give lots of fibers, proteins, and good fats. Fiber is good for your gut health, helps move nutrients through your intestines, and has a positive impact on reducing various gastrointestinal diseases. Oats contain the B vitamins thiamin and folate, and the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper, as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Oats are uniquely nutritious as they contain an excellent lipid profile. They have a good balance of amino acids and are a good source of antioxidants and polyphenols. Oats have 7-8% oil, most being unsaturated which means a good amount of good fat. Interest in oats are mainly due to the presence of beta-glucans, sugars in cells of cereal grains that are often used in medicine. Beta-glucans are soluble fibers and possess nutraceutical properties. Oats contain a significant amount of phytic acid, an antinutrient. Oats are a sustainable grain that grows in fairly arid areas and can withstand fairly harsh climates.
What is the History of Milk Alternatives?
Soy milk predates all other alternative milks both as a cultural and commercial product. The use of soy milk was first reported 2000 years ago in China. It was the first plant-based milk which serves the purpose of providing nutrients to a population where the milk supply was inadequate. Much attention has been given to soy milk in the past as it is a nutritious and healthy alternative to cow milk, but recently attention has shifted away from soy towards the utilization of cereals, oil seeds, and nuts for new milk alternatives.
With the increase in consumption of soy milk, a large market for non-dairy milks were created. Other plant milks origins date as early as the 13th Century, but oat milk is a modern creation. Oat milk was developed in the early 1990s by a Swedish food scientist as a lactose-free sustainable milk alternative and to diversify oat consumption.
Non-dairy milk began as a lactose-free alternative for vegans and non-dairy consumers, but the rise in popularity can be attributed to more than just being a must-have swap.
Why Is Oat Milk Getting So Popular?
In today’s world, beverages are no longer considered simply as thirst-quenchers, and consumers look for specific functionality in drinks to form a part of their lifestyle, such as boost energy, fight aging, fatigue, stress, and target specific diseases. Alternatives to dairy milk are on the upswing, a shift related to health, welfare, and environmental reasons. Many people are compelled by dietary concerns, ethical worries, or lifestyle choices to ditch dairy and meat for plant-based alternatives. The consumption of plant-based milks have been increased due to the absence of cholesterol and lactose, making it suitable for the population suffering from lactose intolerance and heart disease. Consumers continue to demand higher quality through natural ingredients, provenance, authenticity, fewer additives, no preservatives, and environmental awareness.
Most milk alternatives lack nutritional balance when compared to cow milk, however they contain functionally active components with health-promoting properties which attract health-conscious consumers. The options for milk alternatives are endless, but oat milk is up-and-coming and quickly gaining popularity from nutritionists and consumers alike. Common complaints with non-dairy milks are that they are too thin, too bitter, and contain a long list of artificial thickeners and preservatives. Almond and soy no longer fit the bill as an ideal milk alternative, as baristas look for a milk alternative that is creamy, latte-art-capable, healthy, and sustainable. The once-dominant soy milk is now questioned for potential health issues, and almond milk is criticized for its high consumption of water in the production process. In terms of new entrants, oat milk is the king of the milk alternative aisle and is a recent emergent in the market owing to its health benefits and favourable qualities.
Oat milk is tapping into a major shift in eating habits. Oat milk may be consumed to replace dairy milk in vegan diets, or in the case of medical conditions where dairy or lactose is incompatible. It is a good choice for those with allergies or intolerances to dairy and/or nuts, as well as to those looking to limit saturated fats in their diet. It is generally safe for people who have a gluten intolerance to consume too because of the low gluten content. In countries where mammal milk is scarce and expensive, plant milk substitutes serve as a more affordable option. As interest in plant-based diets are rising, many people say that oat milk is the most similar to dairy milk compared to other milk alternatives on the market. Oat milk is easy on the stomach and provides an immediate source of pre-workout energy.
In the coffee industry, oat milk is booming. It is quickly taking over as the go-to choice for baristas and customers alike. Its perfect pairing with coffee, favourable froth, and tasteful, smooth mouthfeel is similar to cow milk but with all the benefits of an environmentally-friendly and health-friendly milk alternative.
The Rise of Veganism:
Searches for veganism have doubled in the past year, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, sales of plant-based milks are up more than 61% since 2012, with about $1.6 billion made in 2018 alone. Globally, the milk-alternative market is expected to reach $41 billion by 2025.
How Does Oat Milk Compare to Other Milk Options?
Oats absorb water easier than nuts, and when blended well enough, more of the oats pass through when strained, giving a creamier texture than nut milk without needing additional ingredients. Oat milk is similar to cow milk when it comes to texture, and is not watery like some almond milks and other alternative milks.
Soy - 7 g / 240 ml
Oat - 2.5 g / 240 ml
Almond - 1 g / 240 ml
Coconut - 1 g / 240 ml
Dairy - 8 g / 240 ml
Oat milk has less protein than dairy milk and soy, but more protein than other plant-based beverages such as almond, cashew, coconut, and rice.
Soy - 1 g /240 ml
Oat - 2 g / 240 ml
Almond - 1 g / 240 ml
Coconut - None
Dairy - None
Oat milk has the most fiber compared to any dairy or non-dairy milk option. Cow's milk has no fiber, and oat milk has an average of 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Soy - 4 g / 240 ml
Oat - 16 g / 240 ml
Almond - 2 g / 240 ml
Coconut - 7 g / 240 ml
Dairy - 11 g / 240 ml
Oat milk is not as nauseatingly-sweet as soy or almond milk can be. Oat milk does tend to be higher in carbohydrates, but it is providing energy through these carbs and fiber opposed to fat, which can typically be the case with most nut milks. Oat milk has 1 ½ times the total carbohydrate compared to dairy milk, but simple sugars are half of that of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains 2-8% lactose. Lactose is a disaccharide carbohydrate which means it only consists of two molecules, glucose and galactose, and although lactose only has a 16-17% sweetness level it gives cow’s milk a certain amount of sweetness without added sugar.
The resulting particle sizes created in oat milk are not as uniform as dairy milk. This variation in particle size is due to the vastly different lipid and protein molecules.
Soy - 80 / 240 ml
Oat - 80 / 240 ml
Almond - 40 / 240 ml
Coconut - 80 / 240 ml
Dairy - 168 / 240 ml
Soy - 4 g / 240 ml
Oat - 4 g / 240 ml
Almond - 3 g / 240 ml
Coconut - 5 g / 240 ml
Dairy - 10 g / 240 ml
Oat milk has somewhat less total fat than cow milk, but only about 1/10 the content of saturated fat. Coconut milk has a very high fat content.
Minerals and Vitamins:
Soy - 30% daily calcium intake, Very minimal iron, 10% daily Vitamin A intake
Oat - 15% daily calcium intake, No iron, 10% daily Vitamin A intake
Almond - 20% daily calcium intake, 2% daily iron intake, 10% daily Vitamin A intake
Coconut - 45% daily calcium intake, 4% daily iron intake, 10% daily Vitamin A intake
Dairy - 35% daily calcium intake, Very minimal iron, 20% daily Vitamin A intake
Oat milk is naturally lower in calcium, iron, and Vitamin A than dairy milk. Potassium content is comparable between oat and cow milks. Almond milk is a good natural source of nutrients and vitamins when compared to other milk alternatives.
Oat milk is particularly accessible, cheaper to make, and more environmentally friendly.
A scientific study done suggests that greenhouse gas emissions used in the production of plant-based milks are lower than for dairy milk. Research by a University of Technology Sydney psychologist suggests that people underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions from food and dairy milk. “The greenhouse gas emissions from milk are about 30 times higher than what people estimate...I suspect that most consumers underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions saved by switching from dairy milk to plant-based milk.” Looking at the global averages, producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks (cite: University of Oxford.)
Producing a glass of dairy milk every day for a year requires 7000 square feet of land, which is more than 10 times as much as the same amount of oat milk. Cow milk also has issues with animal welfare.
Oats need relatively small amounts of water to grow, which is significantly modest in comparison to almond milk. One almond requires about 1 gallon of water to grow. A single glass of almond milk requires 74 litres of water - more than an average shower. Rice milk also requires an abundance of water for production, about 54 litres per glass. However, both almond and rice milk still require less water to produce than a glass of dairy milk.
How is Oat Milk Made?
Production of oat milk is similar to that of most other plant milks. Plant milks are manufactured by extracting the plant material in water, separating the liquid, and formulating the final product.
1- Milling of Cereal Grains:
Cereal grains like oats are indigestible when unprocessed due to their hard, outer hull, therefore processing is necessary to create a product suitable for manufacturing as a liquid. Oats are sourced from farms, stored in silos, and funneled to the production floor where they are then measured and milled to break apart their outer hull.
Oats are soaked and stirred in warm water and blended into a slurry. Soaking and subsequently extracting nutrients from the oats have the most direct implications on the final product.
3- The Extraction of Nutrients:
Increasing the yield may be assisted by chemical catalysts, enzymes, or a temperature increase in order to remove nutrient molecules from the solid byproduct and incorporate them into the liquid. Chemical catalysts increase the pH of the mixture, enzymes induce partial hydrolysis of proteins and polysaccharides, and higher temperatures increase reaction rates.
Enzymes are used to liquefy raw oat kernels into rich milk in a way that still retains their digestion-boosting fibers. The natural sweetness of the drink is aided by the enzymatic breakdown of the oats, and can be adjusted by breaking down the oat carbohydrates into smaller molecules such as maltose. The base is made creamy by affecting the viscosity, thickness, and how far the enzymes are to break down the long-chain carbohydrates into soluble molecules.
Temperature is an important factor in perfecting the taste of the oat milk. Heat is required to stop the enzymatic process, and this tends to smooth out the oaty flavours in the process. The high concentration of starch poses a problem in preparation during the heat processing of oat milk. On the application of heat, starch begins to gelatinize and liquid milk tends to attain a viscous, gel-like consistency, leading to its lower acceptability. In order to maintain the beverage’s fluidity, producers use an enzymatic hydrolysis of starch by alpha and beta-amylase, producing maltodextrins which gelatinize at higher, more suitable temperatures.
Separating the liquid from the solid byproduct is a simple step achieved through filtration, decanting, or centrifugation. The leftover oat pulp has the bulk of the fiber and protein, but the liquid result does retain some of the oats’ nutrients.
5- Adding to the Base:
Once the liquid base is isolated, adding other ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, salts, oils, etc. formulates the final product. The addition of these nutrients is necessary for the product to be a direct nutritional substitute for dairy milk, as it is naturally lower in calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Adding ingredients as fortifying nutrients is a difficult procedure. The nutrients must be bioavailable and stable in the final product, otherwise the quality of effectiveness of the product may be insufficient. In the same way that cream may be added to milk to give it varying levels of fat, plant-based oil is added to provide fat content to the oat milk base. The oat fibers plus this added oil give the milk a thicker, smoother consistency to produce a stable, undulating foam that will hold for a long time.
Homogenization and heat-treatments such as pasteurization or ultra-high temperature treatments are used to extend the product’s shelf life. Decreasing particle size, improving particle solubility, and using hydrocolloids and emulsifiers are common ways to improve product quality via homogenization. These treatments are necessary to improve the suspension and microbial stabilities of the product, so that it can be consumed as is, or be processed further into fermented dairy-like products.
Is This How Minor Figures Oat Milk is Made Too?
Minor Figures oat milk is one of three companies in the world that is able to use the patented enzyme process during production. This ensures the product is flavourful, smooth, properly combined, and filled with nutrients. Unlike other companies within the patent, Minor Figures does not use chemicals in the process of extracting nutrients.
Minor Figures oat milk does not need to be refrigerated prior to opening, and has a shelf life of about a year. After opening, it is recommended to consume the milk within 7 days for the best drinking experience.
The worldwide prevalence of lactose intolerance is 75%.
The European Court of Justice ruled in the dairy sector’s favour and forbade the use of terms such as “milk” for plant-based products, which now are required to call themselves “drinks” instead.
If the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, lead to health care-related savings, and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.
If the UK population was killed at the same rate that farmed animals are killed around the world, it would take just 11 hours.
Elmhurst Dairy, a century-old company whose dairy milk could be found almost everywhere, reinvented itself as a plant-milk start-up in 2016 because according to the CEO “milk has sort of gone out of style.”
Defining the big words….
Centrifugation - application of force to separate particles from a solution
Decanting - gradually pouring from one container to another
Emulsifier - food additive used to stabilize processed foods, often to keep them moist and/or greasy
Gastrointestinal - relating to the stomach and intestines
Homogenization - process which the fat droplets from milk are emulsified and cream doesn’t separate
Hydrocolloid - substance which forms a gel in the presence of water
Hydrolysis - chemical breakdown of a compound due to reaction with water
Hypocholesterolemic - low levels of cholesterol
Maltodextrins - polysaccharides used as a food additive
Microbial - characteristic of a microorganism especially bacteriums causing disease or fermentation
Nutraceutical - food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefit
Pasteurization - partial sterilization to make a product safe for consumption and improve quality
Phytochemicals - biologically-active components found in plants
Polyphenol - natural, organic chemicals
Polysaccharides - type of carbohydrate with a number of sugar molecules
Provenance - the place of origin or the earliest known history of something
Thank you for the help...