For over 10 years now, a group of Grainco growers based across Scotland and the North of England have been producing Milling Oats on a forward contract basis for Quaker. The OatCo Group was set up by Edward Rust and one of our farmer directors, John Hutcheson, in 2002 and has subsequently grown to become the single largest supplier of Milling Oats into Quaker.
John's role within the OatCo group is to represent the interests of growers when discussing and agreeing contract terms with Quaker. It is important that each grower gets the benefit of collective marketing through a supply contract that not only produces a good return for the farmer, but which is also fair to the customer, and delivers benefits to their business.
Quaker Oats is now the 5th largest cereal manufacturer in the UK with an ever increasing range of products offered, from traditional porridge to instant pots and breakfast biscuits. Uthrogle Mill, outside Cupar in Fife, is Quaker’s main manufacturing site for Europe, with a significant proportion of output now exported to Asia and Africa.
Quaker are part of Pepsico, the US food and beverage giant who produce many prominent food brands including Walkers, Doritos, 7 Up, Tropicana, and Coppella to name a few, in addition to Pepsi of course. Brand integrity continues to be integral to Quaker and they have retained their policy of declining to produce any own brand products at the Mill in Cupar.
From the grower’s perspective, supplying a company with a strong must-have brand gives us a chance to lift up from the commodity price floor and share some of the value that the brand has. In return, growers have to be committed to long term Milling Oat production and be capable of producing to a high quality specification.
Uthrogle Mill is in the process of a long term expansion project which will involve a significant increase in their Milling Oat requirements in order to keep up with the pace of demand. In total Grainco supplies nearly 70,000 tonnes of Milling Oat, with 50,000 tonnes of this through the OatCo Group.