The best oats in the world are grown in Finnish family farms with generations’ worth of knowledge. Oats bring versatile possibilities for sustainable eating.
Humble oats are superb when it comes to sustainable eating. Environmental issues are changing how we eat, and oats can be a fantastic, important ingredient as part of a plant-based diet.
In Finland there is a long tradition in farming oats for human consumption, but globally most of the oats are still used as feed. The Finnish family farms grow the best oats in the world and utilizing oats for human nutrition is important from sustainability point of view.
”We have contract farmers growing oats for us in the third generation. Farm sizes are small, and this means great traceability and safety”, explains Ilkka Ojansivu, Sales Director at Raisio Nutrition – the Finnish company pioneering the use of oats in novel applications.
Everything starts with high quality seeds and fertilizers, but the right mindset and well-established practices are equally important.
”In Finland, organized training and testing run through the whole supply chain. We have a high sense of responsibility and control – things are really done by the book. Authorities also enforce regulation ensuring reliability, quality, safety and sustainability”, Ojansivu says.
Location, location, location
When it comes to sustainability and quality of oats, skilled farmers using the best practices is one thing but location plays an important role as well.
Modest oats love it up North where the summer is intense and short. Over 20 hours of daylight per day creates exceptional growing conditions. There is also no need for irrigation since all the water needed comes with the rainfall. In the winter soil freezes and conditions are harsh.
”Harmful pests don’t like the special, harsh weather conditions here and this means we need less pesticides. This is why there are less residues in our produce. Glyphosate usage is actually forbidden during the growing season”, Ojansivu explains.
Nutrient-rich oats have enormous potential
Plant-based eating is sustainable but so is also eating nutritionally sound. This means eating nutrient-rich and nutrient dense foods and not overconsuming calories. This is where oats come to play.
Oats contain a lot of protein, fiber and good fats. The soluble fiber in oats i.e., beta-glucans help lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood glucose rise after meal. These fibers also improve digestion when consumed in sufficient amount.
”Wholegrain cereals, for example, have an important role in a sustainable diet”, Ojansivu points out.
Not all sustainable food solutions have been invented yet and oats can play a major role in doing good for the planet and the people.
”We Finns have great know-how in using oats in food innovations. Milk and meat alternatives have been dominating the media attention, but the possibilities of oats are limitless”, Ojansivu concludes.
Raisio is an international company specialized in healthy, responsibly produced food and ingredients. It is established in 1939 and exports to over 40 countries. Raisio’s well-known brands in Finland are Benecol®, Beanit®, Elovena®, Sunnuntai®, Torino® and Nalle®. Raisio sells oat products to industrial and catering customers, particularly in Finland and Europe.
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