The Great Oat Milk Debate!

By Alun Evans, posted 21/09/20

Our Cafe Coordinator Alun takes a look at sustainability credentials of the different oat milks on the market.

With Oatly’s recent announcement of a 10% buyout by the Blackstone Group we thought it was time to have a bit of a deeper dive into some of our suppliers. This has led to several rabbit holes with some unpleasant surprises down them. It’s almost like there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, funny that.

As a cafe we need an oat milk that tastes good, foams well and is easily available. So here’s a quick round up of some of the alternatives that are out there.

Alpro does a barista style oat milk, but Alpro is 100% owned by Danone; one of the world’s largest investors and producers of dairy products with a less than stellar record on human rights in the supply-chain.

Rude Health is another one that has cropped up recently, but is unfortunately part-owned by Pepsico…nope…

How about Califa Farms? Well the oat milk is delicious but the investment by the Qatari Wealth Fund leaves a bitter after-taste.

Provamel? Unfortunately it’s owned by Alpro.

Minor Figures doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in their closet but they have recently received a £7.5 million investment from an undisclosed source to expand their operations in the USA. It would be nice to know who that is from.

The final one that we want to mention is a very new and very local company called Untitled Oats. They will be producing oat milk commercially within the next couple of months and delivering it in fully reusable containers. We’re very excited to see how things go with them and would love to have them as a supplier. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

As it stands we are not entirely sure who we should be using as our oat milk supplier for the interim. Navigating the ethical implications of different suppliers is difficult at best. With a lack of transparency, shell companies and dodgy investments as the norm, we’re hoping to put our faith in small-scale local production as we move forward.

Alun - Cafe Coordinator

Disclaimer: I’m not an investigative reporter, there’s been a lot of googling and looking at company registrations online to try and figure this out. If anyone spots any errors then please please please let us know!

Link to Danone’s ethical report

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