The US-based snack and cereal giant has launched its ‘Centre of Excellence’ that will pool external and internal research into the science links between oats and human health as well as its links to agriculture benefits.
Marianne O’Shea, director of the Quaker Oats Centre of Excellence, said it should give the company structure to innovate and bring tasty solutions to consumers while communicating the health benefits associated with oats.
“It aims to produce insights that are relevant to consumers, as well as the industry,” O’Shea told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Consumption benefits related to satiety, fibre, hypertension and cardiovascular disease are of interest to the centre, as well as agricultural sustainability,” she said.
Oat-so good for you?
The centre is not a traditional bricks and mortar space, O’Shea said, but rather a programme pooling expert opinion on oat science and agriculture.
There is a vast body of science indicating the health benefits of oats, she detailed, and “25 years of clinical proof shows that the soluble fibre in Quaker Oatmeal can help lower your cholesterol.”
The centre “will help share this existing research but also help identify gaps to help prioritise future research,” she added.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasise the importance of whole grains and recommends at least half of the grains consumed be whole, but O’Shea said many people are still not eating enough each day.
“Research shows the average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains. It became clear to us that we needed to focus more attention on the oat specifically within that category because it’s a whole grain that people love and it’s simple to add to the diet,” she said.
Good for the earth
Oats are also “unique in providing environmental advantages,” O’Shea said, as they can “help save soil by minimising erosion and requiring less tilling, preserving water as they flourish with less water than most crops.”
This is an area Quaker, in conjunction with the University of Iowa, will be looking into, she said.