Farming family invests in Scottish oat milk venture
A family business known for its “field to table” food process is investing a seven-figure sum in the launch of a Scottish oat milk brand.
George Mackintosh is partnering with his nephew Gregor who is behind Mackintosh of Glendaveny which already produces extra virgin cold-pressed rape seed oil.
They have joined forces to develop Mackintosh Oats with the aim of creating a vegan milk product “packed full of provenance”.
As part of the plan, the pair have acquired Untitled Oats, an Edinburgh-based firm established in 2020 by Imperial College London chemical engineering graduate Alex Baldwin and University of Edinburgh sustainable development graduate Callum McCadden.
The production of Mackintosh Oats milk will be moved to the family farm at Mains of Buthlaw, near Peterhead, where the oil is produced and where the family has farmed for three generations.
The company expects to be up and running with “major distribution deals and supply partnerships” in the second half of this year. It expects to be employing five people within the next few months and about 20 within two years.
Gregor, who is chief executive of the new business, said the production of oat milk made sense for the Mackintosh of Glendaveny oil brand as well as the family farm which produces arable crops such as rapeseed and oats.
The company will also look to bolster its “made in Scotland” brand by sourcing its ingredients from Scottish growers as production ramps up.
He said: “Oat milk is made from oats, water and rape seed oil. Who can question we have lots of good Scottish water, the family farm has a history of growing oats, and I’ve been producing cold pressed rape seed oil for 12 years, widely known for its leading health benefits. Our product will be packed full of provenance.”
George, who is chairman of Mackintosh Oats, founded an international technology business Eggplant which was sold to Nasdaq-listed Keysight Technologies for $330 million (£262.7m) in 2020.
The market for oat milk is growing strongly compared to other plant-based products.
Global demand is expected to reach $6.45 billion (£5.1bn) by 2028, according to Grand View Research, driven by rising interest in plant-based nutrition.
He said: “We are not short of ambition and we are going to move quickly.”
He added: “We are very excited about building a market-leading business in Scotland which can boast that its products are authentically Scottish, like scotch whisky.
“Our oat milk will be another famous national drink enjoyed around the UK and internationally.”
Mr Baldwin and Mr McCadden will remain as shareholders responsible for the initial manufacturing set-up in Aberdeenshire, the development of new products and processes, and retaining the company’s high standards of sustainability.
George added: “Alex and Callum are two of the most capable people in this niche, and combined with Gregor’s awesome manufacturing and marketing skills, we have the best team.”