Oat does extremely well in Nordic climate and succeeds even in Finland’s northernmost cereal cultivation fields. As healthy eating habits have become more and more popular, the demand for oat products is higher than ever.
If there’s one cereal that is trending around the world right now, it is oat. Innovative oat products are taking over the market: oat milk, pulled oats and gluten-free pure oats are just a few examples of the new delicacies in the field.
Considering the rise of veganism and healthy eating, it is not surprising. Oat is rich with dietary fibre and vitamin E. It is also known to lower blood cholesterol and diminish the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes and colon cancer.
Luke’s Senior Scientist Elina Kiviharju finds the productisation of oat a positive development.
“We should promote the health benefits of oat even more. There is room for expanding and differentiating the range of oat products in the market.”
The demand for Finnish oat around the world is indeed high. Oat mills have had to expand in order to respond to world’s craving of the cereal. Finland is one of the biggest oat exporters in the world.
Surprisingly, in Finland the majority of oat ends up as animal feed.
“Here only about ten per cent of oat is used in food products. There’s a lot of potential in this field and we should turn it into reality,” Kiviharju says.
Finnish oat research is one-of-a-kind
Oat prospers in the arctic conditions. The Finnish refined oat cultivars get through the short growing season and absorb the light of summer’s interminable days. Finnish oat is known as pure, blond and healthy. As is the case with many other crops, the winter helps to keep the plant diseases in control, which decreases the need for pesticides.
“Oat might be a small cereal in other parts of the world but here it has a major role. It has adapted to our growing conditions and survives well even in the northest cultivation areas of Finland”,” Elina Kiviharju explains.
The Finnish know-how in the study of oat is extensive. Research has been done in, for example, the genetics, cultivation and disease resistance of the crop.
“We have more research tools than ever, and genomic understanding has taken huge leaps forward in the last few years. Now, if ever, is the time to invest in researching oat.”
Text: Kira Keini, KasKas Media