Southland’s oat dream one step closer

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Venture Southland group manager, business and strategic projects Steve Canny in a Singapore processing plant where the production scale oat formulations were successfully manufactured last month. Photo: Supplied

SUCCESSFUL results from an industrial-scale manufacturing trial of oat-based products means a new ambitious and potentially lucrative growth industry for Southland is another step closer to being realised.

“It was a very successful campaign,” Venture Southland (VS) group manager, business and strategic projects Steve Canny said.

“We are not there yet, but this was a major step forward. We have passed the last major hurdle.”

Swedish process and formulation engineers, VS, New Zealand process engineers and New Zealand Functional Foods were involved in the week-long trial in Singapore, manufacturing oat-based health and wellness products, such as skin creams, medications, cheeses, yoghurt, spreads, energy replacement drinks and desserts.

Mr Canny said the trial determined Southland oats produced unique formulations.

“We are thrilled about that.”

During the trial, a new method of manufacturing was undertaken which reduced the amount of energy used in the production of the formulations by about 30%, he said.

“This was very significant… a big saving and also good for the environment.”

The trial was the final stage before investing in production of high-end oat-based food products and nutraceuticals for export to the Asian-Pacific region, a market estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion a year.

Mr Canny said once financial investment had been secured, work would begin to build plants and advance capability in Southland.

They had received quite a lot of interest in investment, but securing “intelligent investment” from people who had an active interest in this area of food production was important, he said.

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