The gap from farm to table has grown significantly over the decades. Many UK consumers may have no idea that some of the produce they buy at their local supermarket often comes from halfway across the world. As part of our sustainability direction here at White’s Oats we support local farmers and source our oats from across Ireland and the UK. By doing this we aim to keep our supply chain short and our oat quality high.
It may come as a surprise to learn that many UK consumers have no idea where their food comes from. A study of 2,004 UK adults by meal kit company HelloFresh found a fifth are unaware of what fruits and veg are available during the different seasons; it also revealed that as many as 1.3 million UK adults believe that bacon is a product sourced from cattle!
Whether you start your day with bacon roll for breakfast, or a hearty bowl of porridge it is important to know where your food was grown or how it was raised to allow you to make an informed decision when buying produce. We want you to know exactly where your porridge comes from, and how it gets to your bowl.
Porridge can be made with lots of different types of grains like corn or even rice. At White’s we make porridge with oats. This is likely the type of porridge that you will be served for breakfast in the UK and Ireland.
This type of creamy porridge is made with oats like our Speedicook Oats, or our Organic Rolled Oats that have been cooked down in milk or water until the oats have become almost melted and you can’t tell where one flake ends and another begins resulting in a deliciously creamy taste.
Oats are grown in fields year round and are sown twice a year. Crops that are sown in spring and harvested in August are called ‘spring oats’. Crops that are sown in October and harvested in summer are called ‘winter oats’.
The picture below represents part of White’s October/ November 2021 planting season. 1,500 acres were planted in less than 180 hours from our Northern Irish growers; that’s the equivalent of 6 square kilometers being planted every hour of every day for a full 7 and a half days!
During the winter months the germinated seed is forced into a dormant state, so it won’t grow any more until springtime. The sun's warmth then wakes the plant up and allows it to grow again.
Early summer is a critical period for the oat crop as it needs lots of light, warmth and water to fill the grains and make them nice and plump to be then steamed and kilned for a creamy bowl of porridge. Long days, and periods of both warm sunshine and rain are ideal - making the climate on the island of Ireland ideal for growing oats.
At White’s Oats we source all of our conventional (non-organic) oats from within 60 miles of our mill. We work with over 100 Irish farmers across the Island of Ireland with over 35 NI growers producing wholesome Irish oats.
For an example of just how local our oats watch the below video of Simon Best one of our growers based just outside of Newry on the County Armagh/ Down border. Simon has been a grower for White’s for over 20 years and is located 5 miles from the mill.
At the mill the oats are steamed, rolled, dried and cooled. They are then sifted, sorted and we then select the best oats to be twice steamed and extra slowly kilned. Nothing added, nothing taken away , this time honoured process creates the perfect flake - that is why we’ve been doing it like this since 1841.
The oats are then packaged in fully sustainable packaging and are ready to be sent to a store for you to buy and enjoy a bowl of healthy porridge oats.
Inspiring healthy living and active positive lifestyles lies at the heart of our White’s Oats brand purpose; developing great tasting oat based products harnessing the potential of oats for the environment and everyone in it.
Check out our sustainability page to learn more about White’s journey towards our target of absolute net zero emissions by 2040.