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The first ever oat milk factory is opening in Southland, New Zealand.

New Zealand Functional Foods Ltd, a company created by regional development agency Great South, is planning to build a carbon-neutral plant-based food processing factory for New Zealand crops like oats and hemp.

“The plant-based food and beverage market has exploded worldwide,” Roger Carruthers, chair of New Zealand  Functional Foods told whatsoninvers.nz. “Southland is already on the world map as a premier destination for growing oats, due to our excellent climactic growing conditions, the quality of our soil, and plenty of water. All of this combined with New Zealand’s great reputation for safe, good-tasting food products will give us a real market advantage.”

“The development of this industry would create competitive and sustainable land-use options for Southland farmers, resulting in more employment opportunities and play a significant role in diversifying the Southland economy,” Steve Canny GM of Business and Strategic Projects at Great South stated. “There’s growing awareness of the benefits of oat-based health and wellness products and we’re optimistic about Southland being able to claim a spot in this emerging market.”

The demand for vegan milk is increasing all around the world, and in New Zealand as well. Otis Oat Milk is a popular oat milk brand in NZ, and while they use southern-grown oats harvested in New Zealand for their milk, the oats are shipped to a Swedish factory for processing. When the new factory opens it will enable companies like Otis to produce their product in New Zealand.

“We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel—nothing new to see here,” Otis Oat Milk states on their site. “Oat milks have been made for centuries around the world as nutritious dairy alternatives, however none have been made in little old New Zealand. So here we are.”

Vegan Milk Factory to Open in New ZealandVegan Milk Factory to Open in New Zealand