Growers and grains industry participants from around the country had an opportunity to taste an innovative oat 'rice' dish at the GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth in February - with 95 per cent reporting they liked or loved the nutritious product.
The oat rice 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. An earlier stage of this ongoing project was a co-investment of GRDC and AEGIC.
Expanding the menu
AEGIC barley and oat quality program manager Mark Tucek says AEGIC is 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," Mr Tucek says.
"Giving people more options to incorporate oats into their diet is great for health-conscious consumers.
"It is fantastic for Australian growers because of the potential for increased demand in what is a premium market sector."
Australian oats are highly regarded in Asia and Australia for their excellent grain quality and health benefits.
Attendees at the Perth Grains Research Update tried a special oat rice dish prepared 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.
Ninety-five per cent of Update attendees reported that they liked or loved the oat rice and more than 80 per cent said they would buy it daily, weekly or monthly.
The mouthfeel challenge
Mr Tucek says AEGIC has also developed oat 'noodles', which are receiving rave reviews from international customers.
"For the first time, we can reveal that we have developed a processing method to make high-quality noodles from 100 per cent wholegrain oat flour," he says.
"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 wholegrain oats.
"Recent international delegations have told us that our oat noodles have all the eating quality of wheat noodles."
For the first time, we can reveal that we have developed a processing method to make high-quality noodles from 100 per cent wholegrain oat flour.
Mr Tucek says the project was originally focused on China, which has been increasing its oat consumption dramatically in recent years.
Chinese imports take off
Between 2007 and 2017, Chinese imports of oats rose from 20,000 tonnes to more than 200,000t - a 900 per cent increase.
China's oat imports are expected to double again to 400,000 tonnes 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," Mr Tucek says.
"On top of that, these types of products have huge potential not just in China, but across Asia, and in the domestic market too."
NOTE: AEGIC is an investment of GRDC and the Western Australian State Government.
More information: Mark Tucek, firstname.lastname@example.org