It’s well-known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but with increasingly hectic schedules — not to mention the hard-to-resist snooze button — time-crunched consumers often find themselves skipping the meal. Breakfast cereal-makers long ago created ways for breakfast foods to permeate throughout the day, such as granola bars and snack mixes featuring cereal. Recently, the emergence of oat-based beverages that vary from juice-type consistency to smoothies to chocolate milk-style offerings have added to the mix.

In addition to oat milk dairy alternatives, in March’s Beverage R&D article on digestive health, Beverage Industry discussed fiber-rich beverages, such as OatWorks. The fruit smoothies are formulated with ingredient supplier Biovelop AB’s PromOat betaglucan natural soluble fiber. David Peters, director of sales and marketing for Biovelop AB, mentioned that oat-derived ingredients capitalize on consumers’ understanding of the health benefits of oats, and specifically, the recent understanding of the positive qualities of the soluble fiber in oats.

Our March Beverage R&D article also mentioned Sneaky Pete’s Naturally Oatstanding Beverage, which delivers 3 grams of fiber and contains 40 calories in each serving, the company says. Exhibiting at last month’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., Sneaky Pete’s Beverage Co. sampled its drinkable oat beverage made from a 100-year-old family recipe, says Pete J. Stilianessis, chief executive officer and founder of the company. The product’s packaging presents clear text for parents to understand the benefits of the fruit juice-type drink, Stilianessis says.

Also offering kid-friendly options, Simpli OatShakes displayed its line of oat-based beverages at Natural Products Expo West. The company says its Chocolate variety is as creamy and delicious as chocolate milk, without the dairy. The flavor also is available as Simpli OatGrow, which is packaged in a 6.76-ounce carton for kids. Branded as a “Sip of Sun,” OatShakes comes in a Tropical Fruits variety as well as its kid-focused OatShine Fruits that contains 25 percent real fruit.

Colombian company Alpina Foods displayed Renew oat smoothies at the show. The products are a variation of its existing line of oat smoothies, which have been a staple of the South American diet for years, the company says. For its U.S. debut, Renew oat smoothies will be available in Original, Coffee and Hazelnut varieties. A blend of oats and skim milk, Renew smoothies contain 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, according to Alpina Foods.

Another multinational company, PepsiCo, also sampled oat-based smoothie options at Natural Products Expo West. PepsiCo’s Naked Juice subsidiary offered samples of its Fruit Juice & Oat Smoothies, which rolled out initially in northern California and Chicago. Available in Blueberry Oat, Apple Raisin Oat and Peach Mango Oat, the smoothies offer 5 grams of fiber and between 12 and 13 grams of protein depending on the variety.

If the oat-based beverage category takes off, it might be even harder to avoid that important meal.