“Oat has these premium health claims accepted by the European Union and it has increased the consumption in Europe,” Pekka Mäki-Reinikka, Director, Fazer Mill & Mixes, told BakeryandSnacks.com.
EFSA health claims
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved three health claims relating to oats.
Beta Glucans from oats have been shown to maintain blood cholesterol levels and reduce blood glucose rises after meals. Oat grain fibre has also been proven to increase faecal bulk.
Mäki-Reinikka said the health claims meant demand for oat-containing products such as museli, granola, flour mixes, snack bars and even healthy drinks was growing, particularly in Finland and Central Europe.
Fazer oat mill opening
Fazer Mill & Mixes last week opened an oat mill in Lahti, Finland. The oats produced there will be used in Fazer's own branded baked goods, but also by external customers.
At full capacity, the new mill will need 400 lorries full of oats, equivalent to forty 100-hectare oat fields.
Fazer Mill & Mixes currently employs 40 people and the new oat mill is expected to create further jobs.
Finland was selected as the destination for the new site because oat growing conditions are ideal, said Mäki-Reinikka.
Fazer described Finalnd as “oat superpower” because its climate and moist atmosphere is just right for producing quality oats.
Finland, along with Sweden and Canada are the top oat exporting countries globally.