I’ve been a fan of Oatly, the Swedish oragnic oat milk, ever since I first discovered it in April 2006 when I was trying to combat a bad cholesterol problem.
While I was attracted to the product initially in the belief that oats might help in my fight to lower the bad cholesterol and improve the good, I was hooked after the first sip because of its smooth creamy taste, reminiscent of Jersey milk, in the days when I was studying in the UK.
After Oatly, I’ve never again wanted cow’s milk in my coffee or breakfast cereals.
Hence you could have knocked me down with a feather when my nephew H over dinner on Monday nite laughingly regaled me with a review that the Sunday Times had made on Sep 28 about Oatly along with a host of alternatives to cow’s milk.
“Like thick cloudy water,” he chottled. His mum, my sister, added: “Like dish water with cereals…”
(This teasing was because everyone in my family knows that I’m a strong unofficial evangelist of sorts for Oatly, gifting family and some friends with a pack or two of the drink to get them to experience the great taste).
As I’ve given up the print editions the Straits Times and the Sunday Times since early this year, I’ve not been combing the online editions as assiduously as time permits, because once online, there are more rivetting distractions than what’s put out by the SPH papers.
So, no, I didn’t read the Oatly review but post-haste did so.
Under the banner, “LifeStyle taste-tests some milk alternatives”, the tasters were listed as Deputy Life! Editors Tan Hsueh Yun and Ong Sor Fern, Straits Times restaurant reviewer Wong Ah Yoke and Rebecca Tan.
There were too small consolations:
The team dissed all the milk-alternatives they taste-tested and where there was any modicum of praise, it was of the kind “damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and whilst not sneering, teach the rest to sneer”.
The Suntimes’ review of Oatly wasn’t as bad as my dear ones made it out to be.
Still, it wasn’t flattering, to say the least: “..bland and watery…tastes like thick cloudy water…the coffee becomes sour and the milk just isn’t creamy enough….looks like cereal in dish water. And like water, it flushes out the taste of the cereal.”
Given my personal experience, none of the taste tests were accurate. Seems like none of the testers followed Oatly’s instructions to shake the packet vigorously. If that had been done, it would have been impossible for the liquid to be anything but smooth and creamy but not cloyingly so.
Worse was the price the testers quoted: From $5 a packet. As a long-time and regular buyer, I would like to know where they had gone to get a packet for $5? And I would rush there to buy a dozen 1 litre packets straighaway!
When I first laid eyes on Oatly in 2006, it was selling for way above the other cow milk alternatives, at around $4.80 per packet. Since then, its price has gone up and up. And has hovered at around $5.95 at Cold Storage supermarkets while Sophie’s New Green Pasture Cafe sells it for $5.35 but I would look more closely at the expiry date there, because sometimes they are a tad close.