Students who designed and developed an organic oat milk product for a Northumberland farm could see their concept taken to market.
The Wilson family allowed four students reading Agribusiness Management at Newcastle University to use Ingram Valley Farm as the focus of their final year project.
The group was given free rein to create a new product or develop a change in the way the 2,000-acre organic farm runs its day to day business.
Student Charlotte Gregg said: “On a visit to Ingram Valley we walked to the top of the hills where the view was breath-taking, and we took a photograph.
"We knew then that we wanted to develop a product that captured the provenance of the farm.
“That photo is used on the glass bottle packaging of the oat milk and represents the incredible origin of the product, sourced sustainably and responsibly in one of the most beautiful landscapes of the UK.”
The Wilsons, who run a pasture-fed farm with sheep, beef cattle and deer, were so impressed with the product they have started talking to contract packers in the drinks industry.
Rebecca Wilson, whose husband Ross’ family have farmed in Ingram Valley since 1949, said the product had an emphasis on sustainability and provenance.
“Their product is remarkable, with its recyclable glass bottle design, beautiful branding and low carbon footprint, we fell in love with it straight away,.
“We are now looking for a contract packer to work with us and make this concept a reality," she said.
In 2019, sales of oat milk grew by 686%, and have increased more than 1,946% over the last two years, according to data released by the Good Food Institute and market research firm SPINS.
The Wilsons hope the provenance of their product will set it apart from milks already on the market.
Ross Wilson said: “The oat milk really fits with our ethos and the students’ research proved to us that it has the potential to find its own niche in the growing market for milk alternatives.
“We are proud of the work they presented to us and hope to find a contract packer, with the same values as ours, to take this concept and with our oats make it a saleable product.”
Last year, the farm became the first in the world to achieve certification to The Planet Mark, a programme that recognises commitment to sustainability.