Recently, I ran into Pete – the creator of BetaOats – and I hope you take the time to read his story!
Here’s how I first met Pete: I was walking into my local health food store and I saw this guy dishing up yogurt. My first thought was, “There’s another cow’s milk pusher!” I must have frowned! Later, when I was checking out, I overheard him say, “It’s 100% vegan!” Silly me! How could I have been so wrong? Well, long story short, it led to us have a great talk and the next day I went out to breakfast with Pete and his beautiful wife, Maria and their six-month-old daughter, Vasilisa.
How did you two meet?
We met in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 8 years ago. At the time Maria was studying at a local University and I (Pete) happened to teach English at the same University. I was looking for a tutor to study Russian in exchange of English lessons that he was offering. Maria volunteered and we were married 2 ½ years later. A couple years later we moved to Idaho, where I found a job in the city of Pocatello as a Mechanical Engineer while Maria studied to receive a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Once done with schooling, we decided to reallocate to Seattle, where we now reside.
How did you come up with an idea to start BetaOats?
After living in Russia and traveling around Europe for a couple years, Maria and I were disappointed with the healthy food choices presented in the US. Living in Southern Idaho, we continuously struggled finding healthful food for our family. One such food was an oat vellie (yogurt-like fermented oats). Living in the US, we couldn’t find this type of product anywhere, so we decided to make our own. It took us about 3 years of hard work to refine the recipe, set up the production process, and complete all the necessary requirements for starting a food manufacturing facility. And now we are delivering our product to local stores of the Seattle area.
What is BetaOats?
Oats are a superfood. They are 100% whole grain, packed with soluble fiber beta-glucan, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. People from around the world have been using oats as a staple in their diets in various forms. A traditional method of fermenting oats, found in many cultures, produces a yogurt-like product, enhanced in flavor and nutritional value. Such fermented cereal yogurt-type meals are called vellies. Each package of our oat vellie contains 6.5 oz of oat goodness, prepared with only the essential natural ingredients, no preservatives or gmo’s, and 100% vegan. Naturally high in beta-glucan, BetaOats vellie combines the beneficial live bacterial cultures of fermented sprouted oats, the creaminess of your favorite yogurt, and the refreshing flavor of fresh fruit (marion berries, blueberries, and strawberries) sourced from the Hood River Valley in Northern Oregon.
Why is it called BetaOats? Why not AlphaOats?
Well, we do not need to call it Alpha to make it appealing to the public. Our product speaks for itself. Our oat vellie is a very healthy product. Why? For a variety of reasons, and one of them is that the product is high in soluble fiber, called Beta-glucan. There are different types of fibers, some – insoluble, those that are great for digestive health, and others – soluble, like Beta-glucan, that take the form of a viscous gel-like substance, trapping certain food components, such as fats and sugars, making them less available for absorption. By binding with fat, Beta-glucan (soluble fiber) can lower cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. By slowing down absorption of sugars, it regulates blood sugar levels protecting against insulin resistance. Our sprouted oats are an excellent source of beta-glucan. In fact, they have second highest content of beta-glucan, losing only to barley. That is where the “Beta” part of BetaOats is coming from. Oh, and -BetaOats- are simply “Betta’ for you!”
How is it sweetened?
The product is sweetened with apple juice concentrate and a bit of organic cane sugar. However, most of the sugar comes naturally from the fruits. It’s important to remember that to make a good tasting yogurt, you need have a good balance between the tartness and the sweetness of the yogurt.
Why is it not organic?
We would love to make our product organic. However, being a small operation, it is impossible to do so in a way that would not skyrocket the price of the yogurt. It is very expensive to source organic fruit preparation year-round and it is not feasible at this moment. It is a goal we have soon as we grow bigger and drive costs down.
Where are you selling your product?
We have been selling our product for three months now and it is sold in Vegan Haven, Seattle, and Marlenes’ stores in Tacoma and Federal Way. We are currently negotiating with other local grocery retailers to bring our product to the market.
So what is the plan going forward?
As owners of any business, we want to expand. We believe in our product – it’s very healthy and delicious. However, it is not easy to get into most grocery retailers. The competition is high and the bureaucracy is tough. We need your help in expanding! Let your local store know that you want to see our product.
Thank you so much Pete and Maria! Your BetaOats yogurt is DELICIOUS and should be sold in stores ALL over the place!
I really appreciate your time and it was SO Great to meet the three of you!
Happy Holidays, Everyone! Now go ask for some BetaOats at a store near you!
If you are interested in more stories like this one, search “Two Years of Plant-based Interviews!