First there was soy milk. Then came its cousin almond milk, and almond milk's sibling cashew milk. Then flax, hemp, coconut, rice and even banana joined the milk family. One very welcome addition -- as evidenced by the 686% surge in sales in 2019 -- is oat milk.
This creamy non-dairy beverage rose to the top of the alt-milk hierarchy likely because it offers key benefits that modern consumers are looking for -- sustainability and solutions for dietary concerns -- and still hangs on to the one thing that many non-dairy milk products lack -- flavor.
Oat milk is another vegan product that looks like it's here to stay, joining the ranks of vegan cheese and plant-based meat. Here, learn how oat milk is made, if it's healthy and what brands to buy.
Read more: These pro athletes are vegan -- why they switched and how you can benefit too
What is oat milk?
Oat milk is milk made from oats -- not a hard name to decipher. But there is something special about oat milk compared to other alternative milks: It's actually thick and creamy like full-fat cow's milk, but without the same amount of fat, calories and lactose in dairy milk.
Other plant-based milks, such as almond and cashew, tend to be watery or on the verge of flavorless, whereas oat milk is richer in both taste and texture. But how does the magic happen? How can oats turn into a beverage that has die-hard coffee lovers replacing their almond milk lattes with oat milk counterparts?
It's all in the manufacturing process: Oat milk is made by soaking oats in water (usually steel-cut oats), blending the mixture and straining the mixture to remove the pulp. That's a simplified version of the process and something you can do at home -- in oat milk manufacturing plants, there are vats and lots of machinery involved.
Mass-produced oat milk also requires use of food additives to achieve the desired texture and nutritional quality, as well as shelf stability for non-refrigerated versions.
Is oat milk healthy?
The nutritional quality of oat milk depends on the brand you buy, just like the healthiness of other plant-based milks depends on the brand. Plus, everyone has different nutritional needs, so it's hard to say whether oat milk is objectively healthy or not.
The main ingredients in oat milk are oats and water, and most commercial oat milks are fortified with vitamins and minerals to make up for what's lost during production. So those things are good, but things get a little sticky when you keep moving through the ingredients list.
Many oat milks contain added sugar and oils for taste and texture, as well as other food additives, such as thickening agents and preservatives -- but these things are really nothing to worry about unless you have an intolerance to them or just prefer to avoid them.
Oat milk can be a good choice for people who have lactose intolerance, nut allergies or soy allergies, in which case dairy milk, soy milk and nut milk are off the table. Oat milk may not be a good choice for people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, except for certified gluten-free oat milks. It can also be a great alternative to dairy milk for people following a plant-based diet.
Oat milk tends to have more fiber, sugar and carbs than other plant-based milks, and it also generally has more calories. Again, not necessarily bad things, but factors to consider if you are watching your carb, sugar or calorie intake.
Read more: 9 plant-based meats you can buy at the grocery store
How to use oat milk
Drink it, put it in smoothies, pour it over cereal, add it to your coffee, stir it into oatmeal for double the oat power. You can use oat milk to make pancakes and waffles, thicken soups and stews, make homemade sauces and bake desserts, too. Basically, oat milk can serve as a replacement for dairy milk or a different plant-based milk in just about every scenario.
Oat milk brands
Oatly may be the most popular brand of oat milk to date, known for its velvety texture and carefully sourced ingredients -- all Oatly products are made with gluten-free oats and non-GMO oils. Oatly makes a few different oat milk products, including a barista blend praised for its ability to steam like cow's milk and make for great lattes.
Other brands with oat milk products include Silk (Oat Yeah), Califia Farms (unsweetened oat milk and barista blend), Planet Oat (multiple flavors), Elmhurst 1925 (multiple flavors) and Pacific Foods (original and vanilla).
Where to find oat milk
Most grocery stores and health food stores stock oat milk these days. You can likely find multiple brands at your local supermarket. You can also order shelf-stable versions of some oat milks online. Use the store locators for the brands below to find oat milk near you:
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Brekki Overnight Oats Expands Distribution Into Stop & Shop, Kroger and BJ's Wholesale Locations
Overnight oats brand brekki has expanded its distribution into 430 Kroger stores, BJ’s Wholesale Clubs nationally, and 236 Stop & Shop locations. In total, brekki’s distribution expansion will propel the brand to over 3,500 stores by the end of April 2021.
2020 was a whirlwind year for the overnight oats brand as brekki announced an acquisition at the very end of 2019, rolled out innovative new flavors, and expanded into retailers across the country. In spring of 2020, brekki partnered with Costco for an exclusive 6 pack of its Vanilla Cinnamon flavor in the Los Angeles, San Diego, and Pacific North West regions. By June, the brand entered Sprouts Farmers Market and Fresh Thyme. Additionally, the Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic and SoPac regions brought in the brand’s new flavors. Market Basket, also headquartered in Massachusetts, launched the brand in stores across New England in fall of 2020 and has led the country in brekki sales. Aldi signed on for two successful special buys, one in August 2020 and one in February 2021. Additional retailer partners in 2020 include Lunds & Byerlys, Central Market, Reasor’s, Dave’s Market and many independent retailers across the country.
“On the heels of our success at Market Basket, we knew our brand was well positioned to achieve further distribution across the country,” said Chris Gaudette, CFO, brekki. “We are really excited to introduce our brand into new retailers, regions, and households. Today, more than ever consumers value healthy, flexible snacks that double as meal solutions. Not only does brekki Overnight Oats achieve this but our products are also plant-based and high in protein, delivering an excellent source of nutrition.”
Brekki, named as an ode to Australian breakfast culture, was founded in 2017 in San Diego by Greg Peyser, who eventually led the company to its acquisition in December 2019. The executive powerhouse team of Cedar’s Foods acquired brekki and lends distribution and marketing expertise to lead the brand to national retail partnerships. brekki products are co-packed at Cedar’s Foods’ production facilities in Haverhill, MA, utilizing Cedar’s proprietary proven technology and processes.
Brekki ready-to-eat Overnight Oats with Ancient Grains & Fruit Down Under comes in five flavors; Apples & Cinnamon, Açaí Berries, Bananas & Maple Brown Sugar, Blueberries, Strawberries. Additional flavors available in the 5.3 oz, microwavable cup include The Original and Vanilla Cinnamon. The 5.3 oz line proudly boasts a clean label, all flavors have ancient grains and are dairy free, soy-free, gluten free, non-GMO, plant based, and vegan.
Inspired by Australian breakfast culture and the slang term for “breakfast”, brekki was founded in 2017 with the mission of providing people with a convenient, nutrient-dense meal option that tastes great and can be enjoyed during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime in between. brekki currently offers a line of ready-to-eat, nutritionally balanced overnight oats, including a mixture of rolled oats, ancient grains, organic coconut nectar, and almond milk. The product is currently available in seven flavors: The Original, Vanilla Cinnamon, Blueberries, Bananas & Maple Brown Sugar, Strawberries, Açaí Berries, and Apples & Cinnamon. brekki overnight oats are made from only plant-based ingredients and are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.
FREE Chobani Oatmilk at Stop & Shop!
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FREE Chobani Oatmilk at Stop & Shop!
Shop Rite Sale dates: 10/1-10/7
FREE Chobani Oatmilk this week! They are priced at $3.49. We have a $1/1 Chobani Oatmilk digital coupon and stack with $1/1 manufacturer coupon. Plus we have a $1.50/1 Ibotta rebate. This is a freebie. If your store doesn’t stack, pay just $1.00.
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Buy: Chobani Oatmilk, $3.49 (reg. $3.99)
Use: $1/1 Chobani Non-Dairy Oatmilk 52oz or Coffee Creamer exp. 10/30/2021 (SS 10/3/2021) – limit 1
stack with: $1/1 Chobani Oatmilk digital coupon
Get back: $1.50 Chobani Oat Plain, 32 oz. or larger (Ibotta Rebate) – limit 5
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