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What do you do with the residues from the production of your oat drink?

Our aim is to be the most sustainable food company in the world. We believe that we can be a driving force in creating systematic change by leading through actions and not words. Therefore our focus is two-fold: promote sustainable food consumption and promote sustainable food production.

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that the key to this massive undertaking depends on reducing our intake of animal based food. The more plants we eat, the fewer animals that make it into our diet, the better off humanity will be - both in regard to our health and to the health of the planet. In regard to food production, we believe we are on the cusp of a major shift toward growing plants for the production of food rather than for the production of animal feed and that we have an important role to play in this development.

The process of producing food, even plant-based food, generates production residues because it is not always possible to use every part of the raw material and all of the nutrients in the end product. When we produce oat drink, a portion of the insoluble fibers are removed and the nutrients from the insoluble fibers are lost in the process. In order to ensure that these nutrients do not go to waste, we need to find a way that they can be used as nutrition.

At present, we do not have the technology or the facilities to turn our residues into food for human consumption. The most sustainable option remaining is to use the nutrients in our residues as animal feed. The advantage of this is that production is local, the feed is nutritionally healthy for the animals and we are able to help reduce the need to produce animal feed in other ways, such as growing soy concentrates in the rainforest of South America, where rainforest devastation has a long, documented history of compromising animal welfare. The animals biologically turn these nutrients into waste which is converted into biogas. The use of biogas, for example, powers our production facility in Landskrona, Sweden, significantly reducing our carbon footprint and rendering our production carbon neutral.

Don’t you realize that you are contributing to animal based farming which you claim to be against?
As clarified previously, our first option is to develop the technology and refinement of the residues so that we can turn them into new oat based products and skip animal feed altogether. Because we do not have the massive investments and extensive R&D currently in place, this particular path is one we are looking to follow but is also one that will take time.

Another option would be to find a different home for the residues, one that didn’t have anything to do with animal based farming, such as an animal rescue facility. This could be a good option, for sure, and one that we should increase our efforts on. However, there are some practical issues that make this a challenge. Firstly, the residues are not necessarily appetizing to all animals which puts us back to the challenge of how to process the residues into something tasty and edible. More challenging however is that we are talking about approximately 5,500 tons of residue per year. That is a massive amount of nutrients and a massive amount of residues. It is basically a mountain, or at least a small hill. Finding a taker, in relative proximity to make transportation feasible, has proven to be a mind-boggling challenge. At present we haven’t found a sanctuary with the capacity to handle this amount of residue. If you find a solution, please let us know.

This leaves us with the only other current option, which is sending our residue directly to a biogas plant. This is a viable option. As stated above however, such a move will result in loss of nutrients and energy, which means that these nutrients will have to be produced somewhere else and historically that somewhere else has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon in order to grow soy concentrates. It is our feeling that the total harm done to animals in that equation is potentially significant and needs to be analyzed thoroughly before we could ever stand behind such a decision.

Comments

  • why can't i buy oatly barista anywhere at the moment!
    Daivid Akhurst
  • Hi Daivid,

    I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble finding us. We are currently experiencing some supply issues which we are working hard to get back to normal.

    In the mean time we have 3 new products which have launched in our chilled range, our Whole, Semi and Skinny Oat drinks. These are currently available in Waitrose, Ocado and Asda. Please see more information about them here https://www.oatly.com/uk/products. These are also designed to work in hot drinks but differ in packaging and fat content to our barista edition.

    Until the barista is back in the safety of your home please do give one of these a try!
    Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for hanging in there with us!

    All the best,
    Stephanie

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