Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) officially opened its pilot plant-based protein facility in Western Australia, which will produce a breakthrough, eco-friendly protein called Buntine Protein.
WOA managing director Dr Ben Cole said the technology had unlocked lupins’ potential beyond traditional applications.
“Previous barriers for lupin to be used in the food sector relate to its taste, texture and its capacity for gelling and thickening. Our technology overcomes these challenges.
“Our novel technology unfolds the constituent protein in lupin to increase its ability to blend and mix with other food ingredients. This allows the protein to become suitable for new applications in a wide range of food and beverage sectors,” Cole said.
West Australian Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Hydrogen Industry Alannah MacTiernan officially opened the plant. She said lupins had been important to agronomy in Western Australia for decades.
We want to rebuild the role they play in WA’s grain belt - driving better soil health, reducing reliance on expensive synthetic fertilisers and helping us to diversify our grain products and markets,” MacTiernan said.
Western Australia dominates global production of Australian Sweet Lupin, with approximately 60-80 per cent of global production being exported from the state. Until now, lupin has mainly been used as animal feed stock and a regenerative crop, as it puts nitrogen back into the soil, WOA said.
Buntine Protein was developed in partnership with Curtin University. It has a low carbon footprint and is integral to regenerative farming systems.
Cole said these unique techno-function and eco-credentials are two unique value propositions that give the product a competitive edge on the global stage.
“We know from internal studies that Buntine Protein has nutritional advantages over other plant-based proteins currently available in the market, including a high protein concentration, low fat and non-GMO,” said Cole.
A Bloomberg Intelligence report found the plant-based market could make up to 7.7 per cent of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $235 billion, up from US$42.7 billion in 2020.
WOA wants to transform as much of Western Australia’s lupin crops to plant-based protein as possible.
Founding chair Anthony Maslin said, “As a hypothetical idea, if one day we were to convert the entire current Western Australian lupin crop to Buntine Protein, it would be worth upwards of $1 billion in sales per year. This would represent only a small fraction of the global plant-based market, but one of WA’s largest export products. And unlike some of the State’s biggest resource-based exports, lupin is an annual crop and won’t run out.”
In May, WOA signed a supply agreement with Monde Nissin Australia, to supply up to 60 per cent of Buntine Protein production to the manufacturer to develop new plant-based foods and beverages.
Wide Open Agriculture Non-Executive Director, Stuart McAlpine (left) Managing Director, Ben Cole (middle) and Founder / Chairman, Anthony Maslin, inspect their Lupin crop before it gets transformed into a breakthrough plant-based protein.
Hon. Alannah MacTiernan with Wide Open Agriculture Founder / Chairman, Anthony Maslin
Managing Director, Ben Cole (left) and Brad Dack (Operations Manager) in front of equipment used to unlock lupins value as a food product