If you're wondering about the best oat milks, there's a chance you're thinking about making the switch to a plant-based milk alternative. If you're intrigued by other plant-based dairy milk alternatives as well as the best oat milk options, check out the brands top-rated by dieticians here.
With so many options out there, it can be a little daunting to know choices to make. So how do you determine the best oat milk from all the options on the market?
Oat milk has become a fast fan-favourite as a dairy alternative thanks to its creamy taste which makes it taste similar to cow’s milk. Brits spent a hefty £146 million on oat milk in 2020, up from £74 million in 2019 and grabbing the top spot as Britain’s preferred plant milk alternative over almond. (Which is good news from a sustainability POV - learn more here.)
And it doesn’t seem like swapping to plant-based alternatives will be a passing craze either with a recent market forecast report by Grand View Research, predicting that the global oat milk market, valued at $2.23 billion in 2020, will reach $6.45 billion by 2028. Pretty impressive, right?
Best oat milks: Is oat milk healthy?
In short, yes. The best oat milks are healthy. We checked in with Azmina Govindji RD, award-winning dietitian and author of Vegan Savvy: The Expert's Guide to Nutrition on a Plant-based Diet, to get the low down on Britain’s favourite plant milk.
'If you’re looking purely at nutrition, some oat drinks typically have less calcium, lower levels of iodine and lower quality protein than dairy milk,' explains Azmina.
'However, they can often be higher in vit D and B12, due to fortification – you also get some fibre due to the oats.'
When researching her book, Vegan Savvy: The Expert's Guide to Nutrition on a Plant-based Diet, Azmina found that most leading brands fortify their oat milks with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin b12 and iodine to bring them on par with the vitamins in normal cow’s milk.
Best oat milks: Is oat milk the healthiest milk?
However, there are also many oat milk brands which don't fortify their cartons with the nutrients needed to match dairy milk's nutritional profile.
And it's important when choosing among the best oat milks that you ensure your choice of oat milk does have these added vitamins and minerals.
'This is really important as my findings showed that these nutrients can be lacking in a plant-based diet,' she explains.
It’s also important to weigh in the protein content when choosing your plant milks, Azmina says, especially if you’re sticking to a vegan diet.
'Dairy milk has about 3.5% protein, so you want to choose an alternative that offers “like for like” in terms of nutrition,' she suggests.
'Soya and pea-based drinks have 3 to 3.5% protein. Oat-based drinks in my Vegan Savvy survey provided between 0.5 and 1% protein; coconut drinks were between 0.1% and 1.2%; and almond and rice drinks were also low in protein,' she explains.
Best oat milks: Which is the best oat milk to buy?
When working out the best oat milks for you, you have to decide on what you’re looking for. For example, is it important to find a high protein milk to help your muscles recover after training?
Or are you following a vegan diet and therefore the best oat milks for you are ones supplemented with added vitamins and calcium?
Azmina recommends always checking the label to compare the %RI (reference intake) on the nutritional label.
'Make sure the brand is fortified with vitamin D, calcium, iodine and B12,' she advises as these nutrients are important for the healthy functioning of our bodies.
'I tend to think it's worth paying a little more for fortification with micronutrients, but you may well find cheaper own brand alternatives. Also, go for low sugar versions,' Azmina adds.
So, now we know what to look for, WH has done the legwork for you to help you find the best oat milks on the market.
You don’t need to spend ages scrolling Asda, Sainsbury's and Waitrose aimlessly trying to find the best oat milks thanks to this oat-standing list
14 best oat milks to buy now, according to a dietician