Regenerative food and farming company, Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA), have announced that they are in the final stages of testing their new oat-milk product.
The company is based on the wheatbelt in Western Australia and has 5000L of the plant-based milk ready to commence market testing to trial the milk’s taste and texture with potential consumers. WOA also operates the brand Dirty Clean Food, an online distributor of regeneratively grown animal and plant based food products.
Managing Director of Wide Open Agriculture, Dr. Ben Cole, commented on the news “Our final marketing testing is an exciting milestone that demonstrates our capacity to produce innovative, plant-based products from farms committed to regenerating farming systems. The oat milk complements our existing animal protein product offering and reflects our commitment to building regenerative food portfolio.”
The company has also announced the purchase of 90 tonnes of WA’s award winning oats in anticipation of production which will originally take place in Europe at an established oat milk production facility. Additionally, Wide Open has commenced a grant application addressed to the WA State Government, which if successful, may allow production to move to their home state.
The popularity of plant-based alternatives is unlikely to slow in the near future, with predictions the oat milk industry alone will be worth US$1.6b in 2024. Retail sales figures of oat milk in the US between 2017 to 2019 have grown from US$4.4m to US$29m, over a 500% increase over the period. With a growing number of the Australian population looking for alternatives to dairy products for health, environmental, or sustainability reasons, the company feels distinguished from other types of plant-based milks including almond, rice, soy, and coconut milk. However, it should be noted that oat milk contains gluten, excluding the 11% of the national population who opt for a gluten-free diet by choice.
Sales for the company grew 46% in Q2 from Q1 to $290,000, bringing the total sales for the first half of the 2020 financial year to $490,000. The figures only include sales from Western Australian restaurants, online consumer transactions, and independent retailers, suggesting there may be sales potential in the domestic market.
Following the announcement, the company reached an intraday high of $0.145, over a 20% increase on Monday’s close.