Australian oats: not just for breakfast
Australian oat noodles and oat “rice” could be set to become the latest pantry staples here and overseas, thanks to new manufacturing processes developed by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), which specialises in research and development and food innovation to encourage investment in value-added grain products.
AEGIC is currently on the lookout for food brands and manufacturers who can fast-track getting the products to market and help move oats beyond the breakfast table to becoming a healthier everyday option for lunch, dinner or snacking.
Developed from Australian oats which are high in beta glucan – a soluble fibre that can help to reduce cholesterol levels and boost heart and gut health – the new products offer superior nutritional benefits to other rice and noodle offerings. AEGIC’s oat rice contains twice as much dietary fibre as other white and brown rices, as well as fewer carbohydrates, more protein and a greater concentration of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. The oat rice can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to traditional rice.
AEGIC has also developed a processing method to make high-quality noodles from 100 percent wholegrain oat flour. The noodles are produced without additives, with a hydro-thermal treatment used to ensure the shelf life is the same as traditional wheat noodles.
“The demand for wholegrain products is growing rapidly around the world, especially in Australia’s key export markets, as Asian diets continue to evolve,” says AEGIC Chief Executive Officer Richard Simonaitis. “Awareness of the health benefits of whole grains is growing, and health authorities and governments are increasingly recommending that consumers substitute refined grain staples like white rice with wholegrain cereals like oats.”
The oat rice and noodle prototypes have already received glowing reviews from preliminary tasting panels with Australian and international testers.
“Australian oats are highly regarded in Asia and Australia for their excellent grain quality and health benefits,” says AEGIC Barley & Oat Quality Program Manager Mark Tucek. “Giving people more options to incorporate oats into their diet is great for health-conscious consumers. It’s also fantastic for Australian oat growers because of the potential for increased demand in what is a premium market sector.”