When you think about oat, does it remind you of this basic grain that most of us have always eaten?
Oat has always been our basic fuel, so to say, not just for human but also for the livestock and especially horses until 1900-century.
But guess what! Oat is the new super food for the rest of the world, particularly in Europe and United States. One of the main reasons for higher demand is oats beta gluten which lowers the bad cholesterol and The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved these health claims.
Popularity of the Finnish oat can be explained, among other things, with our clean soil and high quality grain which has fewer pesticides and fertilizers. Also the appearance of Finnish oat has the kind of features that most cereal companies are looking for.
Mr. Tarmo Kajander, the Director of grain sales in Hankkija, estimated that in 2013 alone 400 thousand tons of oat could have been exported. Still, Finnish farmers produce over a million ton of oats annually and a big portion of that goes to feeding livestock.
Thankfully, exporting oat is not the only way us Finns have noticed and jumped into the oat and super food business. For example, Helsingin mylly is looking to double their production, with their CEO Miska Kuusela saying”Finland is the word’s large-scale producer of top-quality oats. Oat demand and popularity is in a high rise.”
Fazer has also invested in to the future by building a new mill that produces different kind of flours, mixes and flakes to both international food industries and for domestic markets. With new mill and bakeries in Lahti Fazer is employing over 500 people.
The domestic market had also increased its oat-based products by numerous producers with all kinds of drinks, porridge mixes, cereal, breads and snacks.
So why don’t we all support both Finnish production and our own health by increasing our use of oats. It is after all affordable, domestic super food!
I know I will.
By the way, Fazer and Lahti Energy also produce local bioenergy by reusing oat peels and other inedible parts of harvested oats. Can food get any better?