Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre is developing ground-breaking high-percentage oat noodles aimed at the burgeoning Chinese market.
AEGIC is identifying Australian oat varieties suitable for emerging Chinese products, including oat noodles, oat rice and oat milk, as well as more established rolled oat products. The research project is a co-investment between Grains Research and Development Corporation and AEGIC.
Lead research scientist Sabori Mitra said the centre had successfully created high-quality dried noodles with an oat flour ratio greater than 50 per cent.
‘‘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,’’ Dr Mitra said.
‘‘These noodles have an excellent shelf life, they look good, they’re healthy, and most importantly they taste delicious.’’
Dr Mitra said the project had also returned encouraging results in processing oat ‘rice’.
‘‘Oat rice is created through a special process to remove 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 resulting product can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to traditional rice.’’
AEGIC oat program manager Mark Tucek said the expanding Chinese middle class was increasingly interested in health and nutrition, with oat consumption increasing dramatically since the mid-2000s.
‘‘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,’’ Mr Tucek said.
‘‘This represents a great opportunity to grow Australia’s share of an expanding market.’’
Overall, the project is showing encouraging results for a number of Australian oat varieties.
High quality milling oats can attract a premium of $20/tonne, with the potential for the Australian oats industry to generate an extra $20million each year.
In the next stage of this project, AEGIC will develop a wider variety of innovative oat foods and help provide pathways to market for commercial products.