Should you jump on the fast-growing trend?

Over the past few years, more and more people have switched over to using oat milk as their preferred non-dairy milk substitute. To cater to these new and changing palates, the commercial foodservice industry has been rapidly adopting this dairy milk alternative in order to offer it to customers. But what’s all the hype about? Why are so many cafes, restaurants and other foodservice operations adding oat milk to their menus?

There are a multitude of reasons why adding oat milk to your menu is a good idea, but here are the top four benefits to serving oat milk as a plant-based, non-dairy option for your customers.

Oat Milk Behaves Similarly to Dairy Milk

One of the biggest benefits to chefs, cooks, bakers and baristas alike is that oat milk has a similar consistency, texture and taste to dairy milk, making it an easy dairy-free alternative to work with. In an account by Elemental about how Oatly—the first company to produce and distribute oat milk—garnered such a favorable reputation, the article details how Oatly reached out to baristas to work with the product and see how they could use it. Due to oat milk’s similar consistency to dairy milk, the plant-based alternative won over both baristas and customers alike. 

Because oat milk behaves like dairy milk when cooking and steaming it, it helps make the food prep step easy to achieve with minimal to no additional effort. There’s no extra guesswork or course correction if the consistency of a sauce or beverage that comes out less than ideal when using oat milk.

Additionally, oat milk has a similar taste to dairy milk, making it palatable for customers who want to explore dairy-free alternatives without sacrificing taste. 

Oat Milk is a Healthy, Allergy-Free Alternative

Because oat milk is made from, well, oats, it is naturally gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free. This makes oat milk a safe dairy-free and plant-based alternative to serve to your customers who may have sensitivities or allergies to nuts, gluten or soy. In turn, offering oat milk as a substitute makes your menu more inclusive, meaning that more people can confidently dine at your business.

On top of the lowered allergy risk, oat milk is also rich in B vitamins and protein, so it’s perfect for health-conscious consumers who want that added boost in their smoothie or coffee.

Oat Milk is a Naturally Vegan Option

On top of being allergy-free and its health benefits, oat milk is a great vegan substitute to offer. With more and more U.S. consumers turning to vegan diets, having a known vegan milk alternative ready to serve is a particularly smart move, especially if your restaurant or cafe specializes in vegan cuisine. 

And because oat milk cooks and bakes so similarly to dairy milk, it’s an easy incorporation to include on your menu. This is particularly useful if you offer vegan-friendly food options alongside traditional fare to, once again, make your business more inclusive and welcoming to customers with different dietary and lifestyle requests.

Oat Milk Has a Low Environmental Impact

If you’re particularly keen on sustainability and making your restaurant, cafe or commercial foodservice business more earth-friendly, oat milk is the perfect menu item for you. As reported by Statista, oat milk uses on average 48 liters of water to produce, versus dairy milk which uses an average of 628 liters of water to produce. Similarly, the production of oat milk generates 0.9kg of CO2 emissions, while dairy milk produces 3.2kg of CO2 emissions on average. 

Additionally, when comparing oat milk’s sustainability to that of the top plant-based milk contender, almond milk, oat milk is still a better alternative for the environment. On average, almond milk uses around 371 gallons of water to produce versus the 48 liters previously mentioned. Not only does oat milk require less water to produce, but its CO2 emissions are also lessened.

McKenzie Richards is a Content Specialist with Parts Town, the market-leading distributor of genuine OEM foodservice equipment parts.

Expert Takes, Feature, Menu Innovations