Europe’s largest oat processing plant is being built in the heart of an important arable farming region in Northamptonshire.
The state-of-the-art plant, which will be operational by 2023, is being built in response to growing demand for oat-based food products and non-dairy beverages.
Three companies have joined forces to fund the development of Navara Oat Milling – the agricultural production and grain marketing company Frontier Agriculture, farmer-owned Camgrain, and Anglia Maltings Holdings, a maker of food and beverage ingredients.
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The new plant will be located next to Camgrain’s advanced processing center between Corby and Kettering.
Major food and drink manufacturers that use grain-based ingredients have sites in this region, one of which, Oatly, is set to open a new production facility in Peterborough in 2023, with the capacity to manufacture 450 million liters of oat drinks per year. .
Alpro also has a site in the region, in Kettering.
Although Navara Oat Milling hasn’t revealed the names of its future customers, it does say they will be “large food and beverage manufacturers that are household names.”
All the oats that will be processed at the plant will be supplied by Frontier Agriculture, sourced from producers in the surrounding region, Camgrain member farmers and its network of agricultural traders.
Dedicated supply chain
Frontier managing director Mark Aitchison, who is president of the new venture, said the collective vision of the three partners is to create a dedicated oat supply chain that brings farmers and food manufacturers together.
“Collaborating with the farmers supplying the new mill will add value in areas such as agronomic advice, seed variety selection and development, quality and sustainability,” said Mr Aitchison.
Producer premiums are likely to be based on traditional specifications such as moisture and quality, but also on what the company calls “demonstrable sustainability benchmarks”.
There are plans to involve Camgrain member farmers in the development of new oat varieties to supply the facility.
Sixty new jobs are expected to be created at the site once it is operational, but there are no plans to manufacture finished products at the plant.