Oat milk drink: New Zealand’s A2 and goat milk firm launches plant-based offering for toddlers

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Haven Oat Toddler Drink contains oat milk fortified with a unique oat protein, an algae-derived DHA for supporting brain development, and lutein for healthy eye development. ©Haven
Haven Oat Toddler Drink contains oat milk fortified with a unique oat protein, an algae-derived DHA for supporting brain development, and lutein for healthy eye development. ©Haven

Related tags plant-based Dairy alternatives oat milk

New Zealand infant nutrition firm Haven is expanding into the plant-based space with the launch of an oat-milk based drink for toddlers aged one and above.

Launched on March 11, the new product known as Haven Oat Toddler Drink, will add to the firm’s existing A2 milk and goat milk for both infants and toddlers.

The product is said to be 100 per cent oat-based, which CEO Kara Fleming said was different from existing plant-based toddler drinks which contain a blend of multiple plant ingredients from soy, pea, to rice proteins.

Using some of these ingredients could also result in challenges around product taste and texture.

This is especially when pea protein is used, as it could lead to unfavourable sensory aspects, such as a chalky aftertaste or grainy textures, Fleming said, adding that this could be overcome by using a singular plant protein.

“To differentiate ourselves, we set out with a mindset of creating a formulation based on a singular plant protein and we have been able to achieve that with our oat milk powder base which we fortify with a unique oat protein.

“This has allowed us to create a product with a simple ingredients panel, superior taste profile and creamy texture compared to other toddler offerings in the market,” ​she said.

Developed under the guidance of food scientist and infant nutrition advisor, Lynley Drummond, the product contains oat milk fortified with a unique oat protein, an algae-derived DHA for supporting brain development, and lutein for healthy eye development.

It also contains plant-based prebiotics and probiotics, 16 essential vitamins and minerals, and a proprietary gentle oil blend. It is both palm oil and GMO-free.

“For us, developing a 100 per cent plant-based toddler drink, we needed to ensure that the nutritional profile was suitable as a supplement to a normal diet for healthy toddlers and we wanted to match the protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals levels found in our A2 Cow & Goat Toddler Milks.

“We also wanted to include all the other nutrients that we know are important to support healthy growth and development of active toddlers such as lutein, DHA, prebiotic dietary fibre and we even sourced unique dairy-free probiotics that are manufactured here in New Zealand to support our 100 per cent plant-based formulation,” ​said Fleming.

As it is dairy-free, she said that the product could be catered to toddlers who were lactose intolerant or were suffering from cow milk protein allergy (CMPA) or cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI).

Only available as a stage 3 toddler milk for now, the product will be available on Haven’s online store, Chemist Warehouse, and supermarket chains New World and Pak'nSave across New Zealand at a retail price of $42.99 (US$26.54).

Widening the plant-based market

An oat-based offering could also widen the existing plant-based market which largely consists of soy-based products. This also provides an alternative to parents preferring plant-based but soy-free products for their children, said Fleming.

“Adding a plant-based option to the Haven portfolio was a logical progression for us, given the rise in childhood allergies and increasing consumer preferences towards healthy and nutritious plant-based options – especially for their children.”

She added that there was a burgeoning global preference for oat-based products, especially oat milk.

Citing data from Statista, she pointed out that the global oat milk market has an estimated market value of US$8.5bn in 2021 and this was projected to grow to US$18bn by 2028, with the CAGR exceeding 12 per cent.

“This strategic alignment is substantiated by the increasing awareness of lactose intolerance, a rising demand for plant-based alternatives, and a growing emphasis on health-conscious choices.

In introducing Haven Oat into the market, our company not only responds to these specific market gaps but also strategically positions itself as a responsive and innovative player in meeting the surging demand for oat-based alternatives in infant and toddler nutrition,”​ she said.

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