Drinkable grains and seeds are a hot trend, and one company that's hoping to cash in is OatWorks, which was promoting its range of oat-powered fruit smoothies at the show.
Each 12fl oz bottle contains 160-170 calories and as much oat beta glucan (a soluble fiber proven to reduce cholesterol) as you’d find in two bowls of oatmeal, without the grainy taste, gloopy texture or lumpiness of oatmeal, says founder & CEO David Peters.
It's also pretty filling as the beta glucan forms a gel-like material in your stomach and helps you stay fuller for longer, says Peters, who has gained listings at Whole Foods, Fresh Direct and a range of stores in the New York area plus the west coast. He's also talking to some leading drugstore chains.
As for market positioning, Peters is deliberately positioning the no-added sugar product (launched last year) as a fruit smoothie with oats, rather than a breakfast-to-go drink such as Quaker's Breakfast shakes, Kellogg's to Go or General Mills' BFast shake, he says.
The packaging - redesigned in the spring - is also bright, funky and modern rather than medical/functional or too earthy/natural. "Older people are often more receptive to the whole heart health side of oatmeal, but we're targeting younger people who don't always find time to sit down to eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning."
As for oats and heart health, the fact that Cheerios is now talking directly to consumers about oat beta glucan and cholesterol is great news for smaller brands like Oatworks trying to get the message across, he says.