thomas_harlander's profile

Saturday, April 6th, 2024 2:11 PM

Fermentation process

Dear Oatly Team, 
Recently, I came across a label on one of your oat milk cartons that mentioned in German the product undergoes a fermentation process which does not reference in other languages.
This piqued my curiosity, as I was under the impression that Oatly milk is primarily produced through an enzymatic treatment rather than traditional fermentation.
Could you please provide more clarity on this aspect of your production process? Specifically, I’m interested in understanding the following: 
• Is this fermentation similar to the processes used in producing yogurt or kefir, where bacteria or yeast transform sugars into other compounds? 
• How does this process affect individuals with dietary restrictions or sensitivities to fermented products?
Clarification on this matter would greatly assist in ensuring that I can continue to confidently enjoy and recommend Oatly products.
Thank you in advance for your time and assistance in addressing my questions. 

16 Messages

2 months ago

Hey Tomas, 


thanks so much for reaching out with this fantastic question. We love how carefully you've been reading the packaging and you are abs-oat-lutely right about the fact that something has changed exclusively in the German product description which now states 'auf fermentierter Haferbasis' (translating to something like 'on the basis of fermented oats' in English). 


First of all: nothing has changed with our recipe or in the way we produce our drinks - however, the guidelines regarding the labeling of our production process in Germany have changed and we have followed them of course. Our production process is not a classic fermentation in the microbiological sense, but an enzymatic process (just as you mentioned already) that breaks down the starch in the oats into maltose while retaining the fiber. This can also be referred to as "hydrolysis", although this falls under the generic term "fermentation". In our very own production process, which we have developed and patented, no further by-products are created, as is the case with microbiological fermentation, and the enzymes used are no longer active in the end product, but are a so-called processing aid. However, in order to make it transparent that the oats in our products have been processed and converted into their new liquid or creamy form by the process described, we now declare 'auf fermentierter Haferbasis' ('on the basis of fermented oats') on our packaging.


Just a side note: the only product we have in our range that has undergone a 'classic' microbiological fermentation is our brand new Oatgurt!


Regarding your second question: I hope that all the information above already helped you to evaluate the implications for yourself, but in doubt, we always advise consulting a medical professional. 


You might also want to check out our production explained in a fun step-by-step-video here:


All the best,

Marlene at Oatly