An Ode to Oats

In a move to keep up with current food and beverage trends, Harraways, New Zealand’s 154-year old oat brand, has revealed its plans to focus new product development efforts on areas such as fortification and collaborative NPD.

Established in 1867, Otago-based Harraways remains a family-owned company. Owning the only oat mill in New Zealand, the company is an essential part of the oat industry for all sorts of processing from dehiscing to sterilisation to processing.

“We’re still painting our million process in the very traditional way, following the traditional Scottish approach to rolling oats to get a high-quality product. At the same time, we’re focused on keeping up with the times with a recent $2.5m upgrade to the mill to use the latest German technology,” commented Harraways CEO Henry Hawkins.

“Along those lines it’s important to keep up with current F&B trends. Healthier, plant-based products which are low in sugar and low GI are areas where oats fit perfectly as they’re high in protein, fibre, but low in sugar.”

To make a healthy product even healthier, Harrawyas has launched a line of fortified packaged oats dubbed Oat-active, an area with a lot of opportunity.

“Oat-active is really a combination of rolled oats and plant sterols which provide double action against high blood cholesterol,” explained Peter Cox, Harraways marketing manager.

“The science behind this is that plant sterols prevent the body from absorbing LDL in the intestines, which is then excreted from the body, and the body will use its reserves of previously created cholesterol in the liver so, over time an overall blood cholesterol reduction effect will be seen.”

The other big component of Harraways’ NPD plans surrounds co-manufacturing and co-product development collaborations with other Kiwi firms.

“We believe that a lot of the future ill be in co-manufacturing and co-NPD work and there are many ways to go about this,” noted Hawkins.

“One of the methods is via receipts and we’ve already done some of this in collaboration with New Zealand ice cream maker Killinchy to come up with a range of vegan ice cream and oat desserts from cheesecakes to pies.”

Harraways has all moved to improve its sustainability efforts, including a $500,000 project to lower boiler emissions as well as initiatives to improve its packaging. At present, over 50 percent of Harraways products use recyclable, non-single use plastic packaging.