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OATS: THE NEW SUPER HERO

CLAIMING HEALTH IN FOOD PRODUCTS

Functional food products are gaining more and more popularity in the current healthy food market. As people discover the added benefits of plant-based foods and aim to be more environmentally conscious, companies are putting more effort into including healthy ingredients in their food and beverage products. In this regard, oat has received increased attention from scientific researchers and industries.

As numbers suggest, there has been an increase in food and beverage launches from 2017 to 2021 with plant-based/vegan positioning and oats as an ingredient:

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OATS AND THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS

Oat (Avena Sativa L) is one of the oldest crops known to human civilization. It is considered unique among all cereal crops because it possesses excellent nutritional content, a delicate nutty flavor, and a smooth texture. A whole-grain oat contains:

- 9-11% fiber: Half of it is nutritionally valuable β-glucan fiber.
- 15% protein
- 6-8% fat

Oat beta-glucan
, one of the major components, is considered the primary active component in oats with various functional and nutritional properties, four of which are claims authorized in the EU according to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006:

- 1st claim: Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels: Art. 13(1).
- 2nd claim: Consumption of beta-glucans from oats or barley as part of a meal reduces the blood glucose rise after that meal: Art. 13(1).
- 3rd claim: Oat beta-glucan has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease: Art. 14(1)(a).
- 4th claim: Oat grain fiber contributes to increased fecal bulk: Art. 13(1).

Apart from heart health, diabetes type II, cholesterol levels, and digestive health, oat is known to contribute to also in:
- Reduction of body weight and body fat by suppressing appetite, increasing satiety, and reducing energy intake.
- Decrease of celiac disease symptoms such as gastrointestinal signs.
- Decrease of cancer cell viability.
- Immunomodulation activity by inducing the production of immunoglobulins.
- Antioxidant activity and reduction of inflammation.


COMMON APPLICATIONS OF OATS
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Oat-based breakfast cereals, muesli mixes, and energy bars are the top application of oats. Secondly, there has been a steady increase of oat dairy alternative drinks (by more than 115% of annual average growth between 2018 and 2020) to the extent that it has surpassed soy as the favorite plant protein.

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Almond and oat are considered healthier alternatives to regular dairy, whereas soy-based and rice-based dairy alternatives are considered less healthy by 10% of the consumers globally.

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EXPLORING OTHER CATEGORIES: Chocolates and cheese-non-diary are picking up pace

Naked oats hold particular promise for a variety of functional food products, such as:
- Sport nutrition
- Non-diary ice creams, cheese & yogurts
- Non-diary drinks, smoothies, and coffees
- Bakery products (muffins, cakes, bread…)
- Chocolates
- Pasta
- Meat products
- Soups and sauces

Not only for their nutritional characteristics but also their water absorption capacity, texture, and appearance. For example, replacing some of the fats in cheeses with glucans makes it possible to obtain a softer structure with a lower melting point and good organoleptic characteristics. In addition, due to its ability to mimic the properties of fats, oat fiber is one of the most effective substitutes for lean meat products, such as beef patties and sausages.


Next to alternative dairy drinks, oats are increasingly featured in chocolate, non-dairy cheese, drinking yogurts, fermented beverages, and non-dairy ice cream & frozen yogurt:
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OUR PROPOSALS: Special ingredients

From Disproquima, together with Fazer mills, we offer you the highest quality Nordic oat groats, flakes, flours, protein, fiber (from rye), and brans with various qualities like size and thickness.

Oat β-Glucan
- High in β-glucan, protein, and dietary fiber.
- 10% - 20% concentrates with different particle sizes for varying applications.
- Neutral taste and natural color.

Oat protein
- Naturally balances amino acid profile.
- Suitable for dairy-free and vegan diets.
- Mixable and smaller particles ideal for beverages.
- Low oil concentration enables a more extended product shelf life.

Rye fiber ®
- A specially balanced combination of water-soluble and insoluble fibers.
- It is extracted from the rye kernel by using dry methods.
- It can be added to a wide range of products to achieve fiber and nutritional value without compromising taste.
- It has health claims approved by the EFSA.

Whole Grain Oat Powder Fine (O 2000 FP)
A natural product that includes versatile carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, and unsaturated fats. It has an ideal particle size that minimizes sedimentation in liquid-type solutions.

Oat Endosperm Flour (OEF)
Fine oat flour is made from wholegrain oats.

WHAT’S NEXT?

As more people look for tasty, healthy, and suitable products for the environment, ingredients such as oats will likely become an essential part for food and beverage companies to show that they are serious about incorporating such values into their products.

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REFERENCES:

- Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods (2007). OJ L 12, 18.1.2007, p. 3–18. Available on: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32006R1924&from=DE
- Paudel D., Dhungana B., Caffe M., Krishnan P. A Review of Health-Beneficial Properties of Oats (2021). Foods, 10, 2591. Available on: https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10112591 
- Shvachko N.A., Loskutov I.G., Semilet T.V, Popov V.S, Kovaleva O.N, Konarev A.V. Bioactive Components in Oat and Barley Grain as a Promising Breeding Trend for Functional Food Production (2021). Molecules, 26, 2260. Available on: https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082260   
- Innova database. Available on: https://innovadatabase.com/



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