GROWERS and grains industry players from around the country had the chance to taste an innovative oat “rice” dish at this week’s GRDC Grains Research Update in Perth.
The product was developed by oat research scientists at the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC). AEGIC’s oat program is aimed at increasing the value of premium Australian oats.
AEGIC Barley and Oat Quality program manager Mark Tucek said AEGIC was striving to elevate oats from the breakfast table to becoming a go-to option for lunch and dinner.
“Australian oats are highly-regarded in Asia and Australia for their excellent grain quality and health benefits,” he said.
“Giving people more options to incorporate oats into their diet is great for health-conscious consumers.
“It’s fantastic for Australian growers because of the potential for increased demand in what is a premium market sector.”
Attendees at the Perth Update had the chance to try a special oat rice dish prepared in the Crown Towers Perth kitchens as part of the official event menu.
AEGIC developed a processing method for oat “rice”, a product which can be cooked and eaten like regular rice but has the health benefits of oats. The oats were processed and supplied by AEGIC.
Mr Tucek said AEGIC had also developed oat noodles, which are receiving rave reviews from international customers.
“For the first time, we can reveal that we’ve developed a processing method to make high-quality noodles from 100 per cent whole grain oat flour,” he said.
“This is a significant achievement because making high quality oat noodles with the texture and mouthfeel of wheat noodles is a real challenge.
“Our noodles have exceptional eating quality, they look great, they have good shelf life, and they have all the health benefits of whole grain oats.
“Recent international delegations have told us that our oat noodles have all the eating quality of wheat noodles.”
Mr Tucek said the project was originally focused on China, which has been increasing its oat consumption dramatically in recent years.
Between 2007 and 2017, Chinese imports of oats rose from 20,000 tonnes to more than 200,000t, a 900pc increase.
China’s oat imports are expected to double again to 400,000t over the next few years.
“Up to $25 million in extra value could be captured if Australia secures a large share of the expected growth in Chinese oat demand over the next few years,” he said.
“On top of that, these types of products have huge potential not just in China, but across Asia, and in the domestic market too.”
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