Oatbox to Manufacture an Oat Milk Base for Eastern Canada and American Northeast Customers
Canada-based startup Oatbox, a leader in products made from Canadian oats, is proud to announce the closing of a C$7.1 million financing round from financial partners including Desjardins Group, the Government of Quebec, through its representative Investissement Québec and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED). This funding will enable Oatbox to finalize the construction its own oat base manufacturing facility. Located in St-Damase, Quebec, the plant will allow Oatbox to develop a wide range of plant-based oat products, such as beverages, as well as partner with companies requiring oat base for their operations.
“This funding is a strong endorsement of our business plan and will allow us to have excess production capacity in order to sell oat base to other food processors in Eastern Canada or the Northeastern part of the United States. There is a shortage of quality oat base on the market. However, it is a perishable product. Both food processors and consumers will benefit from a fresher product, as it is processed locally and transported over shorter distances,” said Marc-Antoine Bovet, co-founder and president of Oatbox.
Oat base: a product in high demand
Oat base is the main ingredient in oat milk and its many oat-based derivatives: ice cream, yogurt, frozen desserts, cream cheese and any other product that uses milk and is looking for a plant-based alternative.
Oatbox has been working for two years on the development of its Canadian oat milk. The financial support will be used to finalize the construction of a world-class production line. The new plant far exceeds Oatbox’s needs for its own product lines.
“Rather than seeing other processors in the American Northeast as competitors, we will be very proud to be able to provide them with our high-end oat base to maximize our positive impact on society. It is clear to Oatbox that oats are part of the solution to the Earth’s environmental challenges and represent a healthy and tasteful alternative. Thanks to this major investment, Oatbox will be able to remain at the forefront of trends and offer its customers an ever-growing offer adapted to their lifestyle,” said Mr. Bovet.
Desjardins has been supporting Oatbox for several years. In this new round of financing, the cooperative provides financing for production equipment as well as an operating credit to the company.
“With this new product, Oatbox meets a need in a booming industry, where supply is struggling to meet demand. Consumers and processors can now count on a new, high-quality, local source of supply. We are very proud to leverage the strength of our network to help this company grow,” said Jean-Yves Bourgeois, Executive Vice-President, Business Services at Desjardins Group.
The Government of Quebec, through its representative Investissement Québec, is also contributing to the project via its ESSOR program. ” This new plant will allow Oatbox to achieve two important goals for our government: innovate through product development and increase our exports. The market for oat-based products is growing and Oatbox stands out,” declared Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions supports businesses with innovative growth projects that contribute to local economic development: “Our government is proud to provide $1 million to support Oatbox Limited Partnership in its launch. The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time, and we must help homegrown companies develop more environmentally friendly processes and products. That is why our government is supporting Oatbox’s innovative project to adopt a circular economy model that will reduce our environmental footprint. Congratulations to the entire team on your eco-friendly vision. You are an example for all of us! ” said the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome–Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED.