Checking milk alternatives: how good are oat drink powders?

A waste-avoiding alternative to cow's milk: oat drink powder can be found more and more in organic markets and drugstores.

Checking milk alternatives: how good are oat drink powders?

A waste-avoiding alternative to cow's milk: oat drink powder can be found more and more in organic markets and drugstores. How do they work, what does the drink taste like - and are the powders really more climate and environmentally friendly, as promised?

Anyone who does not tolerate cow's milk or eats a vegan diet often uses oat drinks to put the finishing touches on coffee or muesli. But it doesn't have to be automatically reaching for the beverage carton. It is becoming increasingly common to buy oat powder in bags or cans.

The manufacturers advertise that oat drinks can be mixed with water in no time at all, which can keep up with the well-known products, but are said to be even more climate-friendly. Is that correct? And: are the powders good for morning coffee? Answers to the most important questions.

What about the ecological balance of the oat drink powder?

"Basically, it can be a good approach to offer dry ingredients that you can mix yourself," says nutrition expert Silvia Monetti from the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia. Because: The packaging of the powders is smaller and lighter than the classic plant drink cartons, which saves resources during transport. And there is less waste. A can that holds 400 grams of powder can mix a total of four liters of oat drink.

However: "Because oat powder is still a relatively new product, there are no studies on how good their ecological balance is," says Monetti. This also depends, for example, on where exactly the oats come from - a statement that the manufacturers are not obliged to provide.

Even if the oats come from the EU according to the packaging, they can have come a long way - and this can result in corresponding emissions. According to Monetti, it is still unclear, for example, how much energy the production process consumes. This includes drying the oatmeal.

Speaking of production: How does the oat drink powder actually "work"?

In order for the powder and water to turn into a creamy drink in no time at all, the oats must first be ground into flour and specially prepared, says Monetti. It is often hydrolyzed. To do this, the oats are treated with enzymes that trigger fermentation and break down the starch in the oats. In this way, the oatmeal acquires properties that are useful in powder. For example, that it dissolves well and forms little sediment.

To ensure that the product dissolves as best as possible during preparation, you should follow the instructions on the packaging. Some powders are simply stirred into water. Others are mixed by putting them in a shaker or jar and shaking with water.

Can I save money if I use the powder instead of the box?

Rather not. "The products are quite expensive," says Monetti. "On average, a liter of oat drink costs 2 to 2.50 euros if you mix it from powder." You can often get a carton of oat drink for 1 to 2 euros, although there are more expensive products here too.

However, if you regularly catch yourself tipping away half a carton of expired oat drink, the powders may be cheaper. Because: They can be kept for months - even after opening.

Are powders an option for me if I mainly need the oat drink for my coffee?

It depends. According to user reviews, not all products can be mixed without lumps. As an ingredient for pancakes, porridge or cakes, this may not bother you - but in coffee it does. What should also make coffee fans wistful: The powder is not yet available in a Barista Edition that can be foamed.

What else can I pay attention to when choosing the product?

It's worth taking a look at the nutritional table. "Especially with regard to sugar, the range is large," says Monetti. There are products that contain just 1.1 grams of sugar per 100 grams - and some that contain a whopping 37 grams.

By the way: It does not have to be added sugar. It can also be sugar produced during the processing of the oats. Because: The enzymes split the natural starch of the oats partly into individual sugar building blocks.

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