The times of oats being relegated to the cereal and baking aisle at your native grocery store are coming to an finish.
Due to the efforts of meals innovators like Francis and Erik Lo, oats can now be discovered within the dairy part, together with in merchandise like Yoats, Canada’s first oat-based yogurt alternative, which the brothers launched in 2020.
Francis Lo notes that his household has an extended historical past of meals innovation tracing again to his grandfather in Hong Kong. After the brothers emigrated to Canada within the late Eighties, they finally landed on the College of Guelph the place Francis studied agribusiness and Erik, meals science. At Guelph, their urge to innovate was nurtured and fuelled by Mission SOY, a contest sponsored by First Line Seeds, to encourage innovation and product improvement using soybeans.
Though their tofu cream unfold didn’t dwell as much as expectations, the product improvement classes the Lo brothers discovered from the competition set them on the trail to creating Yoso — their very own meals firm. In 2020, Cambridge, Ont. primarily based Yoso opened a brand new $10-million facility. The corporate has elevated manufacturing 1o instances and now produces 22 plant-based product traces that may be present in about 2,000 retail places throughout Canada.
Innovation has at all times been a part of the brothers’ core values and so they get pleasure from collaborating to convey new decisions to Canadian customers. After beginning primarily as a soybean product firm, Yoso is now additionally the primary firm to launch unsweetened coconut yogurt in Canada in addition to almond/cashew merchandise.
Two years in the past, Yoso took a liking to oats. Francis says he and his brother have been crops grown in Canada to establish people who might probably match their product objectives. After some improvement work they concluded that oats may very well be used to make yogurt. Lo describes Yoats as thick and creamy and full of fibre and protein, and it’s very mild in comparison with dairy and different plant-based yogurts. Canadians seem to agree. “It’s been a tremendous success,” says Lo, who notes that Yoats is now obtainable in Sobeys, Walmart and Loblaws places. It will also be discovered within the well being meals part of 400 impartial well being meals shops.
On this interview with RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, Francis feedback on the plant-based meals potential for oats and different crops grown by Canadian farmers. He notes that the oats used to make Yoats are grown within the Saskatoon, Sask. space and are sourced from a number of suppliers together with Solely Oats.
Francis discusses customers’ relationship with meals and their want for transparency and readability in how meals elements similar to oats are produced. He additionally notes how well being concerns and private values — from defending the atmosphere to animal welfare — are enjoying an rising position in shopping for habits and market alternatives for brand new merchandise.
Hearken to Francis Lo and Bernard Tobin talk about Yoats and alternatives for oat growers: