• Lupin flower.
    Lupin flower.

Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) reports significant progress in its lupin protein project, the location for its in-house pilot manufacturing facility, new products, a new appointment and an invitation to Asia. 

Regenerative food and agriculture company WOA announced in June that it will develop an in-house lupin and plant-based protein manufacturing facility in Western Australia, with an initial construction cost of $1.6 million. 

The company has announced the facility will be with its Kewdale distribution centre, having access to technical and product development team members along with WOA’s regenerative food brand’s commercial kitchen, Dirty Clean Food. 

WOA intends to utilise its first instalment of pilot equipment to enhance gelation and develop blueprints for potential patent applications. Over time the facility will also develop the capabilities to produce plant-based food and beverage products for Dirty Clean Food, future off-takes and strategic partners. 

The company said it will generate initial funds through producing food grade quantities of modified lupin protein and that the pilot plant will open doors for strategic partnerships. 

WOA said the facility will offer opportunities to apply its patented technology to other regenerative pulses grown in Australia.

Product developments and external partners 

Having recognised modified lupin protein as a potent ingredient, WOA’s new product development team is creating prototypes for two high protein products. Flavoured drinks with 20 grams of protein per 100 millilitres, and an oat milk with three grams of protein per 100 millilitres – a level similar to dairy milk – are in the pipeline. 

Based on a specific food or drink category, WOA has supplied prototype samples to global food and ingredient companies, which are potential partners in Europe, North America and Australia. The company aims to develop prospective food and ingredient companies into off-take partners for its modified lupin protein across a range of food and drink categories. 

WOA has currently established four plant-based food and beverage sectors it is targeting.

1. Plant-based milk: WOA is developing oat milk and protein enriched oat milk, which has a forecasted market value of $52 billion. 

2. Plant-based meat: burgers, sausages, chicken, and mince, are the types of products the company will incorporate, with the plant-based meat market expected to reach $38 billion by 2025. 

3. Planted-based snacks: with the highly lucrative sector expected to reach a market value of $100 billion by 2028, WOA will implement plant-based noodles, yoghurt, cheese, and mayonnaise snacks. 

4. Plant-based protein: the company is also looking into plant-based protein powder, which has been forecast to value at $49 billion by 2028.

New appointment 

With a PhD in lupin protein chemistry and co-inventor of the improved lupin technology, the company has appointed Dr Hayder Al-Ali as its in-house senior food scientist. WOA said Al-Ali has demonstrated the ability to create new technologies that reveal important techno-functions of Australian sweet lupin. 

Al-Ali will be supported by an experienced engineering team, a project manager and project engineer. 

Entry to Asia 

The company has also been invited to an initiative of the new Western Australia Food Innovation Precinct (WAFIP) known as X-Protein Lab, this will expand the state’s market reach in the rapidly developing alternative protein space, particularly in Singapore. 

WOA has steadily been expanding its presence in Singapore, recently securing GrowHub International as its exclusive Dirty Clean Food’s OatUp distributor.

Technology readiness, product-market fit, market acceptance, investment potential, and global relevance will be key factors for WOA in the mentorship program. During the program, liaising with Singaporean start-ups and creating connections with key regional and global protein sector members will also be an opportunity for WOA.

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