Oats – Everything you wanted to know about Australian Oats

By September 12, 2017 No Comments

Bowl of Oats

As we currently have an amazing special on Lowan Oats, we wanted to take some time to discuss Oats, which has been a popular Breakfast staple in Australia and why they are growing in popularity in Asia, with China now discovering the benefits of Rolled and Quick Oats.

In Australia, cooked Oats are also called “Porridge” as it is in many Western countries, including England, Germany and Nordic countries.  Porridge is also made from other products in different countries including Rice (I also love Congee for its taste and health benefits) , Maize, Sorghum and Wheat. In America, Oats are also known as Oatmeal. It was interesting to read that Oat Porridge has been found in 5,000 year old bodies un-earthed in Central Europe.

Oats for breakfast has always been popular in Australia mainly because it is cheap but also because its  healthy and a good way to prepare yourself for a hard days work (before computers made us sit all day), and it was a common crop grown in Australia.

During the 1980’s and 90’s Australia saw an increase in sales of Processed Breakfast Cereals, and this has had a major impact on society, as these new Breakfast Cereal options are traditionally high in Sugar, High in Salt, Low in Dietary Fibre and had a High GI (Glycaemic Index) – examples of these are Fruit Loops, Rice Bubbles, Coco Pops, Nutri Grain and others. These Breakfast Cereals appealed to young children due to a combination of enticing taste due to high sugar content as well as marketing initiatives often aimed specifically at children.  I remember when I was young sleeping over at a friends house and having Coco Pops thinking it was the best food in the world. Australia has in recent decades had an issue with obesity and this is also partly to do with the growth of Oats in Australia as we try to focus on Low Sugar, Low Salt and High Fibre diets.

It is easy to see why Oats are popular in Australia and why they are growing again in popularity

  • Low Cost per serve
  • High in Fibre and provide a large amount of Energy through the day
  • Made with Milk – Calcium is vital for good bone health
  • Oats are a popular crop in Australia and in abundant supply (Oats are the 5th biggest crop in Australia after Wheat, Barley, Canola and Sorghum) – Source – PWC report
  • New focus on Healthy food alternatives
  • Low GI – leaves you feeling fuller for longer

Growing Oats

Harvesting Oats Australia

The top ten oats producing countries are Russia, Canada, Poland, Finland, Australia, United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany. The global production of oats in 2013 was 20.73 million metric tons. The output by the five major producers accounted for 51% of the global output. The United States, Germany and Mexico are the major consumers and importers of oats globally; the United States accounts for more than half of the market demand. Source – Business Wire .

Australia produces very high-quality Food Safe Oats – “Clean and Green” as described in the Oat Industry presentation which also outlines the many health benefits of Oats.

Oats in Australia are grown over the Winter months and harvested from October to December. There is some good information on Australian Oats at the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).

Why are Oats becoming more popular in Asia, particularly China?

PATAZA Pty Ltd (Aussie Food Export) has noticed and increase in sales of Rolled and Quick Oats (Milled Oats), with our sales and orders growing in Singapore, Malaysia, Honk Kong and mainland China.   There have been many factors that in our opinion have led to this. They include:

  • Growth in Dairy consumption in Asia. There is evidence that an increase in Dairy consumption in Japan has led to an increase in average height. As well, the Chinese Government considers milk to be an important part of a young persons diet and an increase in China of milk production of 8-10%
  • Australian Oats are considered some of the best in the world, with a reputation for having the best taste and aroma, and also preferred for their ease of milling, high yield and Groat percentage. There is a perception that is well founded in China that Australia is the best producer of Oats this is partly due to advertising as well as the high trust of Australian produced food.
  • Changing food habits in Asia – interest in Western food options and growing middle class in China have seen a growth in consumption particularly products like Quaker Oats from the USA, Hahne from Germany and Lowan and Uncle Tobies from Australia.
  • Trend toward healthy foods low in Salt and Sugars and High in Fibre and Healthy Lifestyle – Oats are a great solution before heading to the Gym!
  • Great Winter breakfast solution – Warm, Good for you, fills you up for work

What the difference between Steel Cut, Rolled and Quick (Instant) Oats?

Oats are processed or Milled for human consumption, this involves cleaning and hulling (removing the outer shell to leave a groat) , these are then put through and oven (Kiln) with water and the steaming process. This gives them a toasted flavour and also removes the enzymes that make Oats go rancid, extending their shelf life. The Kitchn.com gave a good explanation of the difference between Steel Cut, Rolled and Quick (Instant) Oats

The difference between steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats is simply how much the oat groat has been processed. This also results in each variety having a distinct texture and varying cook times.

Steel-Cut Oats

Rolled Oats and Steel Cut Oats

This type of oatmeal is processed by chopping the whole oat groat into several pieces, rather than rolled. This variety takes the longest to cook, and has a chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.

In addition to being used for porridge, steel-cut oats can also be used to make meatloaf and savory congee (a nice alternative to rice), or to add texture to stuffing.

Rolled Oats

Also called old-fashioned or whole oats, rolled oats look like flat, irregularly round, slightly textured discs. When processed, the whole grains of oats are first steamed to make them soft and pliable, then pressed to flatten them.

Rolled oats cook faster than steel-cut oats, absorb more liquid, and hold their shape relatively well during cooking. In addition to be heated for a warm breakfast bowl, rolled oats are commonly used in granola bars, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.

Instant oats can be used in place of rolled oats in recipes although the cooking time will be less, and the final dish will not have as much texture.

Instant Oats

Also referred to as quick oats, instant oats are the most processed of the three oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly than steel-cut or rolled oats, but retain less of their texture, and often cook up mushy.

Quick Oats

Rolled oats can be used in place of instant oats, although it will require more cook time, and the final dish will have more texture.

How to cook Oats – Steel Cut, Rolled and Quick (Instant) Oats.

Oats, Oatmeal or Porridge is very easy to make, this is one of the reasons why its so popular. They can be cooked on a stove top or in the microwave (Microwave is easiest and less mess).

Here is a link to some easy ways to cook Oats

You just add Oats to either Milk or Water, cook them for 5 minutes, Quick Oats or Instant Oats are the same process, but they require a minute less and Steel Cut Oats require a minute or so more. Microwaves make it even easier taking only 2 minutes to cook.

Usually when you serve you add some cold milk (Full Cream or Skim) and Brown Sugar – and that’s it. You can also add fruits like Banana or Berries like Strawberries, Blueberries or Raspberries, ut just with Brown sugar, they taste great.

We supply High Quality Oats for Export

PATAZA Pty Ltd (Aussie Food Export) supplies high quality packaged and bulk Oats for export. Our packaged Oats are supplied by Lowan Oats and Market Grocer – these are well known, high quality brands that we can supply Direct from the manufacturer for Export.

Our prices are very competitive due to our strong business relationships with both of these companies and we have their approval to export to markets including China. With all required Export Documents and Analysis supplied, we can assist our customers with supplying Australian Oats to their retail customers and consumers.

Contact Us today to discuss supply of Australian Oats for Export we guarantee our low prices.