A Tullamore farmer looks set to capitalise on the fast-growing Irish market for non-dairy ‘milk’ sales by milking Irish oats.

This week saw Liam Lynam launch his ‘Oat in the City’ real oat drink, made from Irish oats, locally grown in the midlands. 

The natural milked oat drink is fresh, creamy and gluten and dairy-free, delivering an authentic taste by retaining all the oats’ natural fibre and goodness.

Lynam explained:

“All our oats are gluten-free and are supplied by Irish growers. Moving forward, I plan to produce my own oats for the project.

“This will happen with the next 12 to 24 months.”

Milking Irish oats

“My objective right now is to get a national listing for the new drink. The unique selling point of the new product is the fact that it contains most of the fibre and protein contained within the original cereal,” Liam continued.

“Oats differs from wheat and barley in that they are naturally gluten-free. Historically, oats were a staple part of the Irish diet. This is why there is such a high level of gluten intolerance within the Irish population today.

“There are currently three people working within the business. The plan is to grow this figure significantly within the next five years. All of the processing activities are carried out a bespoke facility, which is off-farm.”

Market for non-dairy milk

The Irish market for non-dairy milk sales was valued at €68 million. Sales are increasing at around 20% per annum.

Lynam, who worked in the food sector for twenty years before returning to run the family farm, claims that many leading oat milk brands contain little or no naturally occurring oat fibre, and are essentially sweetened water made from concentrate or syrup.  

Over 200 retail and hospitality outlets in the midlands including SuperValu stores, independent retailers and coffee shops, are now stocking the premium oat drink.  

‘Oat in the City’ was also selected as one of 50 local Irish producers to be stocked in all Aldi stores countrywide, in a special promotion in June, as part of the Grow with Aldi programme.

The range includes an Original Oat Milk and a barista variety for coffee-making, as well as a dairy-free chocolate flavoured oat drink.

Lynam believes that more can be done to promote home-grown, cereal-based food and drink products on the Irish market.

Initial expansion into Northern Ireland and the UK is planned in year one and Europe-wide supply is targeted within three years. 

Development of private label and own-brand ranges for major retailers is also a market plan, and a longer-life barista range will be further developed for the food service category.