FriendsI sat down with Briar Macky of OMG, a barista grade oat milk doing better things for you and the planet.

In the Business of Oat Milk

By Briar Macky

How did you get into the oat milk bizz?

I have a background in marketing but took a leap into the world of food almost 10 years ago when I started studying nutrition online. I followed that up with some work as a private chef and went on to work in the kitchen at Chiswick in Woollahra. During that time I met my business partners, Tony and Janine, (who shared a love of bone broth) and we started Undivided Food Co. That was 7 years ago! We started with organic bone broth and then moved into condiments with our GOOD FAT MAYO range and GOOD Sauces.

In 2018, Tony was chatting to his mate Steve Smith (the Aussie Cricketer) who had just come back from NY and was hooked on oat milk, and wondering if it was something Tony could help him make it in Australia. So we teamed up with Steve and another co-founder Daniel to create a sister business; Oat Milk Goodness or OMG for short.

In a world full of milk alternatives, why did you create OMG?

We wanted to create an oat milk that was made in Australia, with Australian oats, and no industrial seed oils.

I try to avoid seed oils as much as possible and they are hidden in EVERYTHING! When it comes to a daily habit like coffee, it pays to check the ingredients in your milk of choice. We wanted to provide an alternative for people that we are happy to drink, and that’s really been the basis of every product we’ve made.

Why is OMG different from other oat milks?

It’s Australian made, with zero seed oils and great texture… i.e. it froths!!!

How does sustainability form part of OMG production?

Not only is oat milk a more sustainable choice in general, we also cut down on food miles by making it here in Australia with Australian oats and olive oil. We also do our part to address the over clearing of trees in Australia by planting trees in the WA wheatbelt which help to soak up carbon, reduce soil salinity as well as protecting topsoil by acting as wind breaks and increasing rainfall. We have solar panels on the roof of our warehouse so overall our business is climate positive.

Why do you think so many milk alternatives contain nasty additives like industrial seed oils?

There’s been an influx in industrial seed oils across all packaged food products (as well as in the food we eat in restaurants and cafes) so it’s really a reflection on that. It’s a cheap, versatile ingredient that works in so many products. It’s almost impossible to avoid seed oils in packaged foods. In particular, alternative milks require the addition of fat to create the creamy texture we love, so it’s a choice between adding a seed oil or olive oil and we much prefer the latter.

Amongst baristas and coffee enthusiasts, what do you believe to be some of the limitations of alternative milks when making an ‘acceptable’ coffee and how does OMG overcome these?

There’s a long list of ingredients you can add to make an alternative milk ‘work’ in coffee. Lots of people are surprised to realise that the almond milk they thought was a healthy choice is probably only 3% almonds with added sugar, seed oils and a bunch of other additives to make it coffee friendly.

I think the limitations come when you’re selective with your ingredients! For OMG, we have avoided using ‘questionable ingredients’ because oats are naturally sweeter (so we don’t need to add sugar) and because we use olive oil instead of seed oils.

Where are your favourite coffee spots in Sydney?

I honestly love all the cafes that choose to use OMG because I know they believe in quality ingredients and supporting Australian businesses (and farmers)!

I’m lucky enough to live in short walking distance to The Depot, bRU and Orchard St in Bondi so I’m a regular at all three. If I happen to be venturing further afield, I’ll always stop by Heirloom in Mosman and any of the Berkelo Bakeries if I’m in the area.

What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with?

I’d have to say bone broth! Luckily I have our Undivided Food Co GOOD BONES Broth in unlimited supply so I add it to everything. Not only for the health benefits but it adds so much flavour and it makes it super easy to make a quick, nutritious, and delicious meal. I’m actually looking forward to winter and more slow cooking and soups!

What would be your last meal on earth?

A slow roasted lamb shoulder with plenty of garlic and rosemary, my mum’s twice cooked roast potatoes followed by a very generous serving of tiramisu. Always tiramisu!

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