Dairy Farmers “Oats Express” Product Review

Dairy Farmers has entered the complete breakfast drink market with their “Liquid Breakfast”, Oats Express.
oat express 016

Breakfast drinks are marketed to offer to quick, easy, portable breakfast for people who would normally not bother with that first meal of the day. It’s kind-of the smoothie you have when you fall out of bed and can’t be bothered doing it yourself.
I’m familiar with breakfast drinks. You see, monty favours a certain vanilla flavoured rival product. I maintain that much of the appeal for him lies in the fact that his favourite breakfast suckle tastes exactly like infant formula and he can pretend to be a baby again. A breakfast drink can be all things for all people!

So, what is Oats Express? Here’s what the carton says:

A smooth, wholesome blend of milk, oat fibre and real vanilla bean, this delicious liquid breakfast has the same amount of fibre, protein and calcium as a bowl of oats and low fat milk. Based on 30g rolled oats and 1/2 cup low fat milk.

Good news, yes? Well, maybe. The drink does deliver an excellent dose of calcium, 378mg is 47% RDI. There’s 3g of fibre AND it’s uber healthful, derived from oats soluble fibre. There’s minimum fat to worry about and this drink is free from artificial colours flavours and preservatives.

However, and this is a big “however” for me. Sugar comes in as second on Oats Express ingredient list. Right after low fat milk. Oats Express has 25.3g in each serve, a whopping 28%, or over a quarter of the RDI for adults.
If you figure on around 5g of sugar in a teaspoon – that makes for around 6 teaspoons of sugar in this little 250ml carton. Now, not many peeps are going to add 6 teaspoons of sugar to their morning porridge, why so much here?
By comparison, a medium banana contains around 14g of sugar, a glass of low fat milk around 13g and a can of Coke, about 39g.
I will add that some of those listed sugars will come from the milk and the malted barley, not all of it is going to be added sucrose/table sugar. How much though, can’t say, the label does not break it down.

I am going to introduce a little bit of irony regards this sugar issue. Oats Express has a Heart Foundation “Super Tick”. This means, basically, it’s officially endorsed as a heart-healthy, good-to-choose food option. I know that sugar doesn’t have a direct effect on heart health but surely, with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes being the growing problems they are, to separate one illness of our times from another, is, to me, puzzling. A more holistic approach to preventative health care through national dietary guidelines should be encouraged by those with influence. Just saying.

THE TASTE TEST
The overwhelming sensation is, no surprise, sweetness. The sweetness actually masked the vanilla flavour of the drink and the malt was relegated to a fleeting, back palate flavour, hardly discernible at all.
The texture is pleasantly smooth and easy to drink. I did notice the tiniest element of fibre but wasn’t distracted by it all. Like other breakfast drinks, Oats Express is rich in consistency, much the same as a lassi or drinking yoghurt.
If you like sweet things, you’ll slurp this down no worries. If sweet is not your bag, you’ll struggle. I will try the other flavours in the range, I believe there’s chocolate and banana, see how they measure up for the sweetness factor.

THE VERDICT
Pity about the sugar as I love, love, love the concept of a breakfast drink based on oat fibre. I would have been more impressed if Dairy Farmers had pushed the oaty boat out and opted for oat “milk” instead of dairy milk but I guess, if your company is called Dairy Farmers and you’re in the business of selling dairy milk, well, that’s not going to happen.
I couldn’t, in all consciousness, feed this to my family on a regular basis. I’m not a member of the sugar police by any stretch of the imagination but nobody I’m feeding gets 6 teaspoons of sugar with their breakfast.

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