The café scene is constantly changing as new trends pass one another before we even realise it. What has not changed however, is New Zealand’s love of the flat white. Nothing unites us more than some frothed milk and a solid shot of coffee, but nothing annoys a barista like an alternative milk that refuses to froth.
Enter Otis: New Zealand’s first domestic Oat M!lk – smooth, creamy plant-based milk that froths as well as, if not better than cow’s milk.
In 2017, founders of the Dunedin-based Otis, Chris Wilkie and Tim Ryan, approached FoodSouth to develop a production and packaging method, with clear instructions: their Oat M!lk had to outperform all other alternative milks in terms of café functionality and it had to taste great too!
Within six months, they were making milk at FoodSouth using oats from Southland and Otago and, in 2018, a soft launch across a number of Dunedin cafes saw the new product outperform the leading alternative milks on offer.
When the company hit the market soon after, demand exceeded expectations and today you can find one litre cartons of Otis Everyday M!lk and Otis Barista M!lk at New World, Countdown, Farro and Moore Wilson’s.
With New Zealand lacking infrastructure to produce plant-based food and beverages, production has been moved to Sweden and the company is positively offsetting its shipping carbon emissions by 120% in the meantime.
Otis has invested in a new purpose-built dairy alternative production facility near Dunedin which is in the pipeline. The Plant Plant will initially be capable of producing 25 million litres of plant-based milk for export, with options to include plant-based ice creams, creams, flavoured m!lks and yoghurts too.
“We started Otis with one clear purpose, to play a part in elevating the conversation about the need for New Zealand to diversify its agriculture sector, away from our economic dependence on dairy and toward a more sustainable plant-based future,” Tim explains.