Finnish 'pulled oats' maker wants a bite of the meat substitutes market

Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:46am EST
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By Tuomas Forsell

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nordic oats and broad beans are the main ingredients for a new plant-based product that looks like pulled pork and tastes a bit like chicken which a Finnish start-up company hopes will soon be tempting consumers' growing appetite for meat substitutes.

Maija Itkonen and Reetta Kivela, founders of the Finnish food technology start-up Gold & Green Foods, call the product "pulled oats".

"The oats are sheared and heated under the right conditions and combined with the beans. The amino acids that are lacking in oats are in the beans, so they are a good combination," said Kivela, a food scientist, at a lunchtime tasting session in a local restaurant in Helsinki.

"We have patented our production method that allows us to produce the fibrous texture of oats and beans" she said.

The company now aims to have products in stores in Finland and Sweden by the end of the year.

"We want to first prove our point in our home market and then look for licensing opportunities for further expansion," Itkonen said.

Consumers have already embraced protein-packed meat substitutes made from wheat, soy and other beans, while newer companies are pushing boundaries with products based on fungi and insects in a global market worth $1.8 billion last year and projected to be worth $2.2 billion by 2020, according to Euromonitor International.

The two leading players, which each have about 13 percent of the market, are Kellogg, which owns the U.S. brands Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger, and Monde Nissin Corp from the Philippines, which last year bought British firm Quorn Foods for 700 million euros ($763 million).   Continued...

Pulled oats product, made of Nordic oats and beans, is served fried on a plate in Helsinki, Finland, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Attila Cser