Somewhere on the high seas between Italy and Australia, is the first batch of the world’s first regeneratively grown, carbon neutral oat milk, destined for WA’s shores. It is a return journey of sorts, with the milk created from homegrown oats harvested just south of Arthur River last year. Anticipated to arrive by early December, the arrival of OatUp — which comes under Wide Open Agriculture’s Dirty Clean Food brand — on shelves and in coffees across the State is imminent. “By January OatUp will be everywhere you look, hopefully,” managing director Ben Cole said. While the first batch will come in around the 45,000L mark, Mr Cole is anticipating that to increase almost 100-fold. “Our target in the next two years is to be selling four million litres a year of oat milk, which we feel is pretty achievable,” he said. “It’s hard to get exact numbers but there’s about 150-200 million litres of plant-based milk drunk in Australia now and there’s a lot more drunk in Asia. So we want to get WA right and then offer overseas. “What we’re really trading on is WA’s reputation for great oats. So we want to offer that proposition of grown and made in Western Australia.” From concept to creation, the product development has taken about 2.5 years and was sparked by a visit to Europe visiting investors, where Mr Cole said everyone was drinking the brew. And with the breakfast cereal market “super busy,” the WA-based company saw it as an opening. “In Europe and America, initially soy and almond totally dominated as plant-based alternatives,” Mr Cole said. “But what’s happening is oat milk is slowly eroding that — it’s taking soy first and almond is the next.” They found an Italian manufacturer at a conference in Amsterdam and with the vision to “create the best oat milk in the world” sent the grain over about a year ago and awaited the results. “It came back and they said, ‘we’ve never seen oats like this before, where are these from, they’re incredible, they’re so plump, they’re so sweet, and they’re so light coloured’,” Mr Cole said. “And they said we’re going to make the best oat milk in the world out of this stuff, we have no doubt. “We got our first test sample over and it actually came back too sweet… they went back and looked at their process and said, ‘oh because yours are literally double the size and full of these amazing carbohydrates, we’ve actually created more simple sugars’. “They brought back the next one and it was spot on.” It has been “exclusively launched” at a number of cafes in Perth, which are serving oat milk cappuccinos and flat whites to punters, as well as Williams Woolshed, around the corner from Mr Cole’s office. “I insisted it was coming to the Woolshed as one of our early people as they have been huge supporters of Dirty Clean Food,” he said. “I also wanted that for the story of provenance — the oats were literally harvested 30km south of here.” Mr Cole was “really excited” the product had received rave reviews for its flavour and froth from baristas around the State, as well as passing the ultimate palatability test at his kitchen table. “It’s the first plant-based milk I’ve been able to get my kids to drink,” he laughed. “So I’m rapt with that.” As for the next step, Mr Cole said they were investigating the potential for a processing facility at specific sites throughout the Wheatbelt, as well as a couple of metropolitan locations with the hope to eventually offer a 100 per cent “WA grown, WA made” product. He said it could also open doors for other plant-based milks like lupin or hemp to be processed within the State.