Aussie oat noodles target Chinese market

Wednesday, 29 May, 2019

Aussie oat noodles target Chinese market

Scientists from the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre (AEGIC) are developing new oat products to meet growing demand in China.

As part of a jointly funded project with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), AEGIC is identifying Australian oat varieties suitable for emerging Chinese products, including oat noodles, oat rice and oat milk.

Lead Research Scientist Dr Sabori Mitra said AEGIC had successfully created healthy, high-quality dried noodles with an oat flour ratio greater than 50% and a long shelf life.

“The lack of gluten in oats limits their use in wheat-based products such as noodles, so AEGIC’s innovation to achieve high-percentage oat flour is an excellent result,” she said.

The project had also returned encouraging results in processing oat ‘rice’.

“Oat rice is created through a special process to remove to the outer bran layer of oat grains, while achieving a shelf-stable and nutritious product,” she said. “The process reduces cooking time, increases brightness, improves eating quality and maintains beta-glucan content.”

The oat rice can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to traditional rice, Mitra explained.

AEGIC Oat Program Manager Mark Tucek said oat consumption in China has increased dramatically since the mid-2000s, which could be partly due to an increasing interest in health and nutrition.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in supplementing their diets with healthier options, such as oats, which are loaded with beta-glucan and other high-value nutrients,” he said. “This represents a great opportunity to grow Australia’s share of an expanding market.”

High-quality milling oats can attract a premium of around $20/tonne. With an assumed milling oats price of $250/tonne, this could generate an extra $20 million each year for the Australian oats industry if the country captured 50% of the expected future market growth.

The second stage of the project will see AEGIC develop a wider variety of innovative oat foods and help provide pathways to market for commercial products.

The current project is a collaboration with Shaanxi Normal University (Xi’an, China), the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) National Oat Breeding Program.

Image caption: AEGIC Oat Program Manager Mark Tucek and Research Scientist Dr Sabori Mitra with some oat risotto and oat noodles prepared in the AEGIC labs. Image credit: AEGIC.

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