From Seed to Bowl

Unlike many cereal producers out there, We’re with our oats for the whole process so we really know our quality. With over 300 years of milling experience behind us, we like to think that we’re rather expert when it comes to processing oats. As you’d expect, we’ve developed a few ‘family secrets’ along the way, so forgive us if we don’t tell you everything there is to know about the milling of oats. Some of our techniques and traditions date right back to 1675, and were invented by us, meaning you won’t find them anywhere else on the planet. Because of this, we believe our oats to be the best in the world!

Our oats are grown by a network of specially selected farmers with whom we’ve worked for many years. Once inside the mill, the oats have to be carefully treated to ensure a high-quality product lands on the supermarket shelves, and into your breakfast bowl. With tender love and care, we clean, roast, shell, polish, cut, grade, cook, flake and dry every single oat, before they’re packaged up, ready for sale. You can explore this process below.

The seed to bowl Journey

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    1. THE SEED IN THE FIELD

    For generations, we’ve been a fierce supporter of British agriculture and farming. All of our oats are grown by a network of specially chosen farmers who we work with on a contract basis. By taking part in contract farming, we make a promise to those who work with us to take their crop before it’s even been planted. Through placing large contracts we hope to conserve oats as an essential part of the British agricultural economy for many more years to come.

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    2. A GOOD THING GROWING

    Despite the relatively hardy nature of oats, they do have a few specific requirements; excessive rain can cause mildew, whilst too much sun can result in the seeds dropping early, and strong winds can leave the fields flat. Despite these idiosyncrasies, year on year we grow and harvest some of the finest oats in the world within our shores and we’re proud of this fantastic British crop.

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    3. ARRIVAL AT THE MILL

    When oats arrive at the mill they contain all sorts of natural impurities, ranging from seeds to much larger substances, like iron, coal, straw, sticks and stones; which all have to be removed of course! The oats are then conditioned and stored in bins until required. We have to obtain from the oat, the kernel from which Oatmeal and Porridge Oats are made. To do this, a variety of specialist machinery and processes are used.

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    4. A CLEAN SWEEP

    All the seed and extraneous matter has to be removed from the grain while it is still in its whole state. This is done using lots of clever machines which take advantage of the difference in size, shape and specific gravity of the grain and the impurity. Currents of air, (or aspirators) pick up the smaller grain or seeds and leave the larger grain which is passed on to the next step...

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    5. ROASTING OR KILNING

    The oat passes through a machine which blows hot gasses from a furnace over it. Here the grain is dried of some of its natural moisture content. It is then cooled and stored until it is required for the next process...

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    6. COMING OUT OF THEIR SHELL

    The oats are shelled by passing through a machine which throws the oat at a very high speed against a rubber stationary surface. This has the effect of springing the kernel or groat from the shell before the whole mass passes over an aspirator which is able to blow away the Oat Husk because of its lighter density. This enables the miller to seperate the husk and to grind it directly into cattle food while the groat passes on to the following...

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    7. SCRUBBING UP NICELY

    The groat now passes through polishers and over a table separator which extracts any unshelled oats and returns them to the shelling process. The groat is cut on rotary granulators, each one is cut into three pieces. It is then graded on rotary sieves and aspirated to blow away any small pieces of oat husk. At this point the meal is called Pinhead Oatmeal and is then stored until is required for making into Porridge Oats.

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    8. FULL STEAM AHEAD

    The Pinhead Oatmeal is passed over a cooker where it is cooked with live high temperature steam. This has the effect of reducing the time required for cooking when porridge is made. After cooking, the Pinhead Oatmeal is flaked on a flaking roll and it is then dried on a drying band, cooled and packed.

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    9. SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED & INTO BOWLS THE WORLD OVER

    Automatic packing machines are used to pack Mornflake Oats into packaging all sorts of packaging. These are sealed and then placed in cases and delivered out to the shops, ready for purchase and enjoyment in bowls the world over!

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    10. WASTE NOT

    We are proud to say that just 0.01% of what goes into our mills ends up as waste. Discoloured oats are sent away as animal feed, and the tiny little hairs that can be found on the crop are used in motor factories to polish metal work. It’s fair to say that we are a resourceful, efficient and ethical bunch.