REGINA, SASK. — Above Food Corp., a vertically integrated, plant-based food company, plans to build an oat supply chain through the integration of two brands: Only Oats and Culcherd.
Only Oats, Saskatoon, Sask., produces certified gluten-free oat-based ingredients and consumer products. Only Oats branded products may be found in retail outlets across Canada. Culcherd, a certified organic company, produces plant-based dairy alternative products sold in Ontario.
Above Food Corp. expects the Only Oats and Culcherd brands to be available in the United States early next year. Grand View Research, San Francisco, estimated the global oat milk alternative market at $3.7 billion in 2019 and forecast a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10% from 2020 to 2027.
“Oats are winning the plant-based dairy battle, so having a platform that has custody over the entire supply chain for the finest oats globally makes tremendous sense for us,” said Martin Williams, co-founder of Above Food Corp. and president of Above Food Brands, a subsidiary of Above Food Corp. “This is quite personal as I have two children who are gluten- and dairy-sensitive and have been consumers of both Only Oats and Culcherd products for some time. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Only Oats and Culcherd into our rapidly expanding Above Food family as we look to the future of high-quality, plant-based foods.”
Above Food Corp. plans to construct a dedicated gluten-free facility for storage, processing and packaging for gluten-free Only Oats, Farmer Direct Organic legumes, and the Eat Up! whole grains and snacks. The facility will be adjacent to Above Food Corp.’s existing organic ingredient terminal near Regina.
Above Food Corp., founded in 2020, uses regenerative agriculture farming practices and plant proteins such as oats, chickpeas, peas, lentils and fava beans in all its consumer brands, including Farmer Direct Organic, Only Oats, Eat Up! And Culcherd. Above Food Corp. also has a B-to-B division called Purely Canada Foods that supplies plant proteins and plant-based ingredients to customers in 35 countries.
“We’ve followed both Only Oats and Culcherd over the last year and have admired how they have both built incredible, differentiated platforms,” said Lionel Kambeitz, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Above Food Corp. “At the core, both companies pride themselves on supplying quality foods and ingredients that are nutritious, traceable and sustainable, which marries everything that we believe in as a brand in order to provide consumers with the foods they want.”
Only Oats tests its products to as low as 5 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, which is a stricter standard than the standard of 20 ppm for both the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. Mike Marshall, founder and CEO of Only Oats, will serve as director of the oats platform for Above Food Corp.
“This partnership really is a perfect match given Above Food’s scale and vertically integrated strategy and Only Oats access to and knowledge of the gluten-free oat space,” Mr. Marshall said. “We’ve already hit the ground running and will have much more exciting news to share soon about the future of this platform.”
Liz Gallagher, a chef, and Tim Donnelly, who follows a plant-based lifestyle, founded Culcherd.
“Elizabeth Gallagher and I are excited about taking the next step in our journey to help eliminate animals and plastic from the food system,” Mr. Donnelly said. “We look forward to forming the foundation for all plant-based dairy innovations at Above Food moving forward. With Above’s scale advantage, leadership and DNA of innovation, we know we’ll do great things together.”