Want to get to know the team behind the delicious oat milk UK brand, devOATed? We sat down with founders, and mother and son duo, Moira and Oliver Christy, in an exclusive Q&A. Discussing all things devOATed from the inspiration behind the brand, to their favourite flavours, their not so secret talents and much more.
What was your initial reason for creating devOATed?
Moira: Being of a certain age, I remember having little bottles of school milk, a compulsory drink before you were allowed to go swimming. More often than not these little bottles had been left in the sunshine and were semi-warm which was a very unpleasant experience, subsequently I have never lost my dislike of cows milk.
It has been difficult, as until recently there have been few to no milk alternatives available, I relied on my own homemade version of an oat drink as a replacement; although due to increasing demand for dairy-alt products, choice in the sector is growing. Oliver also has never enjoyed dairy, we were always disappointed not being able to enjoy flavoured milkshakes. After some research, we identified there were no quality, farm produced, British, plant-based flavoured drinks for sale, hey presto devOATed – a lightbulb moment.
Being farmers we were excited at the thought of creating a fabulous, quality, plant-based, dairy alternative, championing quality British produce and world leading British farm grown oats.
How long did the development take to getting your first sales?
Oliver: From our initial discussions and kitchen experiments, it has taken around 18 months to further develop with food and drink industry leaders. devOATed sales launched March 2023 and we’re excited to report a fabulous response from local retailers, even selling out at all events we have attended.
Do you have any hobbies and if so, what are these?
Moira: The kitchen has always been the hub of our home, I enjoy nothing more than preparing food for family and friends, baking and sampling of course, a great passion of mine. My garden is a great pleasure, I can be found most evenings taking cuttings, weeding, or harvesting vegetables.
Oliver: I’ve inherited my mum’s love of cooking it seems, but I also enjoy gardening, fishing, going to the beach, following Nottingham Forest, and building train tracks with my 2 amazing children.
How did growing up on a farm shape you as the people you are today?
Moira: I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Highlands of Scotland spending most of my time outdoors with my father, who had an affinity with all aspects of flora and fauna, and an environmental awareness far ahead of his time. His guidance instilled a life long connection and appreciation of nature.
Oliver: Growing up on a farm meant that I was up close and personal with different crops, learning about how they are nurtured, harvested and delivered to markets via wholesalers and millers – the whole process is fascinating. From the machinery to the diversity of wildlife, all of this brings an acute awareness of the natural world around me, and the sensitivity of it.
What is it like working with a close family member and how has it shaped the brand?
Moira: Being in a business partnership with your son is a unique and a privileged experience. Yes, there are challenges like all partnerships, but the advantages of having my life experience combined with Oliver’s youth, which bring so much in the way of IT, crucial to any business in the 21st century, are very complimentary.
Oliver: From a practical perspective it doesn’t make a great deal of difference because we share a common vision for the brand, and common goals for the business. However, because we share the heritage of the brand it enabled us to demonstrate that to our consumers via the brand and add a great deal of authenticity to the brand which is invaluable.
What’s been your biggest career challenge so far?
Moira: Oliver tells me I talk too much to customers, I remind him its difficult to curtail my enthusiasm. So note to self “talk less”.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Moira: For me, it has been a huge achievement being able to develop a level of knowledge and a thorough understanding of the complex process involved in producing a new to market drink.
Oliver: The general success we’ve had with product development. There were periods during the 18 month development process, certainly in the early days, where some of the samples we were receiving back and creating were way off the mark, and not nearly good enough. However, we persevered and have developed all 3 oat milk UK flavours to be absolutely exceptional in quality, taste and appearance, and this has gone beyond our initial expectations and hopes.
What are your main goals for devOATed over the next year or so?
Moira: Based on the great feedback and our initial success, we are excited to be building a new facility for production on the farm. Over the next 12 months our main goal is to deliver our delicious oatshakes to as many outlets as possible throughout Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands.
What’s your favourite thing about devOATed?
Moira: Mine would have to be the commitment to supporting British producers.
Oliver: Mine is the quality of the product. Having put so much time and energy into countless iterations of development samples, we’re thrilled to have such an exceptional product and share it with as many people as possible.
What is your favourite devOATed flavour?
Moira: Mine would have be our Chocolate flavour! We use the finest Belgian cocoa butter ( no butter ) which gives us a delicious, rich and creamy flavour which is not overly sweet. I love to drink it hot, on its own or with a shot of coffee.
Oliver: That’s a tough one, but I’m going to say Strawberry & Vanilla.
Do you have any party tricks or hidden talents that you’d like to share?
Moira: Being a lady of a certain age, I’m very proud that I completed my training to ride racing bikes at Derby Velodrome.
Oliver: Okay so, it’s not really a party trick or a talent, but I’m a chartered surveyor. Oh, and I’m a reasonable runner having completed a number of half marathons and 2 full marathons so far!
Have you enjoyed meeting the team behind devOATed and getting to know Moira and Oliver? Now you’re all caught up on the people behind the brand, keep your eyes peeled for their delicious oatshakes at your local food festivals or markets, and stay up to date with everything devOATed by following on Instagram.