Oats & Grains: Consumer rediscovery of traditional benefits driving engagement across numerous categories.

Monday 04th February 2019
Across the last number of years consumer demand for natural nutrition and unadulterated forms of fibre and protein, alongside a broadening of the alternative drinks market, has seen a sharp increase in product development and consumption of oats and grain products across multiple categories.

With rising concerns around heavily processed foods, consumers are yearning for simpler times. Ancient grains and oats fit perfectly with this movement, and are now trending among the healthy foodies. Ancient grains have never been processed through hybridisation or genetic modification, and are grown as they were centuries ago, offering greater nutritional value than modern grains (wheat, corn, rice). Increasing awareness has resulted in the perception of ancient grains as being more natural, less processed, and highly nutritious, boosting their popularity.

This fits directly to the latest consumer trends, and given the breadth of category engagement, this is clearly a rising movement for consumers, which Glanbia Ireland through our traditional oats and grains agri-business division could be well equipped to supply, particularly given our best in class gluten-free oats offering.

The traditional cereals market (both hot & cold) was always the largest consumer category for oats and grains, and while this area is still seeing high levels of NPD the change in consumer living has driven companies away from the more traditional ‘bowls at breakfast’ type products and toward on-the-go, ready-to-drink and snacking markets, all of which offer significant potential for a business such as ours.

However, outside of this, oats & grains products are now driving consumer engagement in the drinking yoghurt and consumer beverage space, particularly as an additive or alternative to dairy in coffee. While this trend is at its strongest in the US it is growing in popularity across the western markets and has begun to make in-roads into China. Oat-based drinks already resonate with consumers with demand reportedly so high that US coffee shops have experienced a shortage of supply. Already popular in foodservice and a cheaper option than almond milk, oat milk has potential to recruit more US iGeneration (born 1995+) shoppers to the plant-based drink category. More than a third of US consumers aged 18-24 use non-dairy milks to blend with hot beverages in 2018, which should encourage brands such as our own or our customers’ to explore the potential of RTD coffee and tea products. The rise in alternative and plant based diets is securing this trend for the short-to-medium term and opportunities exist to make inroads into this exciting, premium consumer market.

The consumer trend towards revaluing ‘natural’ as a premium continues unabated in the developed markets and the new drive for oats and grains is working in tandem alongside the demands for non-GMO, animal welfare, sustainability and traceability which we are seeing in the consumer dairy markets.

At Glanbia Ireland, we are well placed to capitalise on these trends with our Oat SecureTM range of Gluten Free Oats and Quinoa offering natural customers and brands a fully traceable supply chain with a highly secure Gluten Free standard.