Oats - Learning to Live with the New Product Innovation Approach

May 2021

Oats are a type of cereal grain that is best known for its role in traditional oatmeal. The body quickly converts oats into blood sugar, which keeps you feeling full and reduces hunger cravings for longer than many other grains, fruits, or vegetables.  The soluble fiber in oats provides a healthy dose of carbs to power your day.  Oats are also high in protein, as well as vitamins such as B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), and E. They're low in calories and vegetables so you can eat lots without feeling guilty! Oats are also naturally cholesterol free, so even if you have high cholesterol levels they won't adversely affect the results.  In addition, it's important to note that oats are high in the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid). 

Oats have a delicate nutty flavor and a texture similar to bulgur wheat. They're excellent for adding a little crunch to soups or salads, and are also good in cooked dishes as they add creaminess. Combine with chopped nuts or other toppings for nutritious snacking. 

Cold oat flakes are commonly found in cereals, granola bars, and in baked products such as cookies. Oat bran is the fine outer layer that covers oats before they're sold as regular old oatmeal.  It also happens to be packed with fiber and nutrients like iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Fiber is an important part of our diet as it helps keep us full and satisfied while also helping us maintain a healthy weight. 

Oat bran is still considered a "health food," but for good reason.  It's very high in fiber, making it incredibly satiating and filling. It is also one of the most nutritious foods out there!  The high fiber content not only keeps you feeling full, but also promotes a healthy digestive system that helps you eat less overall.  Fiber can prevent constipation, so it's important to get enough fiber! That being said, it takes a couple weeks of continual consumption of oat bran to see any noticeable benefits from its fiber content. It has almost the same amount of protein as wheat flours but does not contain gluten.

For both the consumer and producer, oats are an important grain. They can be used as an ingredient in a variety of food products due to their low gluten content. The top five largest markets are Germany (where oats are used as an ingredient in foods such as savoury snacks, breakfast cereals and oatmeal), the U.S. (where oats are used mainly in baked goods), Canada (a major producer of oatcakes, a type of flatbread made from oats), Italy (an important producer of artisanal products such as breads and cakes) and the UK (which produces a variety of different kind of oat products).

The most common way to consume oatmeal is as porridge or hot cereal, including Canadian pancakes. The daily consumption of hot cereal is estimated at 716 kilograms per person worldwide.

In Western culture, the most common use of oats is as a part of a daily diet. The Oats are commonly blended with water or milk, sometimes with semolina, barley or wheat bran added to provide extra texture. The resulting mixture may be boiled into oatmeal or cooked with boiling water and then left to stand for 5–10 minutes in order to become thicker. Oat products are also used as an ingredient in a variety of other dishes including cookies, cakes and breads.

Oats are also used as feed for horses, cows and other livestock.

The use of oats is beneficial in these animals because it is not only nutritious but also reduces the digestive problems that can occur when different types of grains are mixed together. Oats are also used to produce beer. It is a popular ingredient in stout beer. The proportion oats used in beer depends on the variety, with some being predominantly oat beers and others barley-orientated.

Oats contain the polyphenols sorbitol, xylitol and ursolic acid, which act as prebiotics, enhancing good bacteria in the gut. Although oats do not contain gluten, they are processed in facilities that also process wheat so those with coeliac disease or sensitivity to gluten should check labels carefully before purchasing products containing oats. Diseases of a more serious nature can be caused by contamination with other grains during harvesting and processing, so food safety is an important consideration when eating oat products.

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