Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) has secured a non-dilutive AUD$5 million grant from the Western Australian Government’s Investment Attraction Fund to establish a production facility for Buntine Protein enhanced oat milk.
The facility will be located in Western Australia and will initially produce oat milk in various formats using the Company's proprietary lupin-based plant protein, Buntine Protein, with initial production to potentially begin this calendar year, with further expansion anticipated across 2024 and 2025.
The new facility is projected to potentially increase WOA's domestic production capabilities, enhance manufacturing efficiencies, and reduce costs, while enabling the company to navigate evolving consumer beverage markets effectively.
Recently, WOA has also successfully manufactured an RTD prototype of its Buntine Protein oat milk – which it describes as a nutritional, versatile, and sustainable alternative to traditional dairy milk and other oat milks.
Located strategically adjacent to the Buntine Protein pilot plant, the new facility is expected to produce a range of Oat milk in 1 litre and Ready to Drink (‘RTD’) formats, featuring the Company’s lupin-based Buntine Protein as an ingredient.
When fully operational, WOA will gain the ability to introduce a novel beverage into global markets, rivalling traditional dairy in protein content, yet maintaining a coveted creamy mouthfeel.
The new facility is also anticipated to bring about significant cost reductions. These savings would likely stem from enhanced manufacturing efficiencies, improved supply chain operations, and reductions in tariffs on exports to key markets such as SE Asia. Beyond cost savings, the facility should also speed up the new product development process for future product releases.
Wide Open Agriculture CEO, Jay Albany said the grant was not only a financial boost, but was also a testament to the viability and potential of WOA’s high protein oat milk.
“As we move forward, we're more excited than ever to see our plans materialise, harnessing this opportunity to champion a new era of sustainable, innovative, and delicious plant-based nutrition,” said Albany.
WA Premier Roger Cook said, "We’re backing local companies to manufacture here in WA, to value-add, and to take on the world in developing high-tech products for the future.”
The full AUD$5 million grant will be disbursed in stages based on the achievement of defined milestones and fulfillment of reporting requirements. The terms of the Financial Assistance Agreement (FAA), require that Wide Open Agriculture match each grant instalment with equal funding, contributed in parallel with the allocations from the Western Australian Government’s Investment Attraction Fund.
The first critical milestone involves the successful execution of the FAA. Following that, other milestones include obtaining the necessary regulatory and planning approvals for the construction and operation of the plant-based milk plant. Upon the successful completion of all the prescribed project milestones, the company will have accessed the total grant sum.
Completion is anticipated to occur by June 2025.