What Is Oat Milk?

Back in the 1990s, a company called Oatly launched in Sweden. Rickard Öste, Oatly’s founder, discovered that by combining oats, water and a dash of canola oil, he could make a creamy, naturally sweet, dairy-free and gluten-free milk alternative that happened to go perfectly with just about everything. The rest of Europe caught on fairly quickly and 25 years after Oatly opened its doors, the United States joined the party.

Oat milk mania started to catch on in the U.S. in early 2018. It reached a fever pitch this summer — its ability to produce the perfect dairy-free latte has put it in particularly high demand in coffee shops — and baristas and grocery stores everywhere soon found themselves with an oat milk shortage.

As Oatly and other oat milk manufacturers scramble to soak, drain and package their oat milk as quickly as possible, the questions arise: What exactly is oat milk, why is it so delicious and is it good for us? Let’s take a closer look.

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