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Why does oat milk have rapeseed oil in it?

The rise of oat milk

Oat milk has fast become the most popular plant milk. It’s sustainable, versatile, and tastes delicious. But what's rapeseed oil doing in your oat milk? 🥛

Why does oat milk have rapeseed oil in it?

You may have spotted "rapeseed oil" as an ingredient on your oat milk carton and you wouldn't be alone. ALMOST ALL oat milk brands add rapeseed oil, but why? 🤔

Reason 1️⃣: Creaminess

The main reason rapeseed oil is added to oat milk is to give it a more creamy mouthfeel.

Think of it like cow's milk. Skimmed milk has a low fat content so isn't all that creamy, whereas whole milk has more fat and is subsequently creamier.

The same applies to oat milk, with barista and whole varieties containing the most oils which give them a creamier mouthfeel.

Reason 2️⃣: Emulsifier

Rapeseed oil also acts as an emulsifier preventing the water and oats from separating in the oat milk. Other common emulsifiers added to plant milk include soy lecithin.

Emulsifiers are commonly used in food & drinks to keep two substances mixed which otherwise would separate. 

Reason 3️⃣: Shelf life

Rapeseed oil's emulsifying properties also improve oat milk's shelf life by keeping its consistency uniform. However, UHT treatment is generally more effective in increasing shelf life.

Why does oat milk have rapeseed oil in it

What is rapeseed oil?

Rapeseed oil is a common, low-cost food ingredient made by extracting the oil from rapeseed using methods including cold-pressing, heat & chemical extraction.

Is rapeseed oil bad for you?

Rapeseed oil is low in saturated fat so would traditionally be considered a "healthy fat". However, this is not always the case! 🫨

It depends on the specific oil as each varies by method of extraction, quality & composition.

1️⃣ Method of extraction

Heat & chemical-extracted rapeseed oil lose much of the natural nutrient profile and can leave behind harmful residues. The healthiest rapeseed oils are cold-pressed.

2️⃣ Composition

Rapeseed naturally has a great balance of omega fatty acids, however, the more processed it is, the more altered the fatty acid composition becomes, leading to higher levels of harmful trans fats.

3️⃣ Quality

As with all food, quality varies, and rapeseed oil is no different. Lower-quality rapeseed oils contain more impurities and are grown with excessive fertilisers.

Is there an alternative to rapeseed oil in oat milk?

When drinking oat milk with added rapeseed oil, you are blind in terms of the quality or level of processing undergone. So what are the alternatives?

Option 1️⃣ ditch refined oils

Choose oat milk without refined oils (this is where we come in). We NEVER use processed seed oils in our oat milk and instead use healthy fats from coconut called MCTs which are a well known nutritional powerhouse.

The best part? It's still super creamy, so you’ll get all the deliciousness. Check out our refined oil free oat milk!

coconut oil as an alternative in oat milk

Option 2️⃣ ditch oil altogether

The other alternative is to select an oat milk with no added oil at all, although these are rare and you'll lose out in terms of creaminess. It's like choosing skimmed milk, some people are into it, some aren't.

We've created a separate blog post to explore your options if you want an oat milk without any oils

What other additives are common in oat milk?

Check out our full guide to other additives in oat milk here!
  • Other seed oils - whilst rapeseed oil (a.k.a canola oil) is the most common, oat milk may also contain types of oil like sunflower oil, coconut oil, and soybean oil.
  • Emulsifiers and stabilisers - these are added to prevent the separation of your oat milk and keep it uniform. Common additives include soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, and xanthan gum.
  • Vitamins - a variety of vitamins can be added to oat milk to improve its nutritional profile. Common vitamins include Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.
  • Minerals - similar to vitamins, minerals are added to provide nutritional value. The likes of calcium, iron, iodine, and zinc are commonly added.
  • Salt - finally salt is very often added to oat milk as it may help improve flavour and is a common preservative used to improve shelf life.
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