Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

February 28, 2011 14:58 ET

Naked Oat: Nutrition Stripped Down to its Bare Essentials

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2011) - A new variety of oat is replacing rice in a nutritious new product unveiled earlier today. Developed by Campbell Company of Canada, Nourish is a complete meal created to help address the growing issue of hunger in Canada and abroad. Many of the nutritional benefits in Nourish are boosted by a new hulless and hairless – or naked – oat variety that was developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists.

"Oats for breakfast? Sure. But now, thanks to our scientists, we can have delicious, nutritious and Canadian-grown oats for lunch and dinner as well," said Minister Ritz. "Research has been helping farmers develop, grow and protect crops and the naked oat is an excellent example of how this research is growing new market opportunities. We are delighted that our innovative variety is part of Campbell's new product."

Naked oats cook and taste like rice but have a wider nutritional profile, which makes them a good option for processors. They are also suitable for gluten-free diets; a growing area of need for Canadians.

Nourish is the result of our commitment to helping to alleviate hunger coupled with some of the best food we know how to make," says Philip Donne, president of Campbell Canada. "Thanks in part to this innovative naked oat developed by AAFC scientists, Nourish will deliver fibre, protein, iron, and calcium to those who need it most."

This made-in-Canada variety is the result of more than 15 years of research and breeding by AAFC scientists. The versatility of this new variety will benefit consumers, farmers and food processors.

The new oat variety is hairless, which eliminates the respiratory issues at harvesting of previous hulless varieties. Unlike traditional oats, processing hulless oats does not require expensive dehulling and sorting equipment and because it is also denser, it requires less storage space and reduces transportation costs. 

AAFC's naked oat was a finalist for SeCan's 2010 "Seed of the Year" award.

This is just one innovation among many in AAFC's 125 year history of agricultural research in Canada. AAFC research has led to discoveries, like this one, that allow for more varied, nutritious, sustainable and higher-quality food for Canadians. 

To find out how to participate in boosting Campbell's donation of Nourish to Food Banks of Canada visit

Fact Sheet

The Naked Oat: Nutrition Stripped Down to its Bare Essentials

The innovative "naked" variety, or AC Gehl is the first bald-seeded hulless oat to offer a wide range of benefits to producers, processors and consumers alike. Developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), "the naked oat" represents a new class of hulless oat as the seed is almost free of surface-borne hairs.

This new variety is the result of more than 15 years of intensive research and breeding by AAFC scientists. This versatile, made-in-Canada crop is one example of how AAFC research has practical applications in bringing healthier, high-quality food to Canadians.

Nutritional Powerhouse

The successful breeding and development of naked oats has stimulated businesses to use the crop to develop new products for new markets. Naked oats are a nutritious alternative to rice in food products as they cook and taste like rice, yet offer a wider nutritional value. Naked oats have twice the protein, ten times the fibre and five times the iron of white rice. Additionally, naked oats have very high levels of lysine, an amino acid key to good muscle growth. It also has high levels of beta glucan, which can help reduce cholesterol, anti-oxidants and a low glycemic index.

Naked oats are a good alternative for gluten-free diets and companies are using naked oats to develop food products for celiac patients.

Benefits for producers and processors

Previously developed hulless varieties were still covered with fine hair (trichomes), which represented a major health challenge to growers and processors for harvesting, handling and processing of the grain.

The trichomes on regular varieties commonly break free during threshing and handling, enter the air and cause skin itching, respiratory congestion and eye irritation for operators. The trichomes also lock the seeds together and cause bridging in seeders and stoppages in the moving of seed in conveyance equipment. Trichomes also have an electrostatic charge that can attract fungal spores and dust, which can lead to infection on the seed. 

Because of its bald condition, AC Gehl prevents bridging and it flows easily and reliably during the conditioning of the seed for sale or for food processing.

Unlike traditional oats, processing naked oats does not require expensive dehulling and sorting equipment, making it an attractive option for smaller businesses. They also pack more densely, which requires less storage space and lowers transportation costs.

Like all oat varieties, naked oats can be produced in any of the cereal-producing regions of Canada.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations