Lupins unlocked for plant-based protein market using new technology

0
7

A food and farming company in WA’s Wheatbelt is hoping new technology will allow it to transform a popular livestock feed into high-protein meat-alternative products for humans.

Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) is set to begin food-grade trials using protein extracted from lupins to create plant-based foods such as meat substitutes, protein-enriched oat milk, breads and pasta.

More than half of the world’s lupins are grown in Western Australia, where they are well regarded by farmers as a livestock feed that can quickly improve the condition of stock due to its nutritional qualities.

Cooking Funky Fields plant-based "minced" in a pan.
WOA wants to extract lupin proteins to create plant-based protein products.(ABC News: Marty McCarthy)

The plant-based protein industry is expected to be worth $60.7 billion (US$40 billion) by 2025.

WOA managing director Ben Cole said there were enormous benefits yet to be realised in using lupins as a food for human consumption.

“We see [lupins] as a really exciting part of our overall product portfolio,” he said.

Making lupins more versatile

Lupins are used on small scales by WA businesses, ground and incorporated in food products such as cake mixes and packaged chips.

a close up of lupins in hands
WOA has partnered with Curtin University to extract proteins from lupins.(ABC Mid West and Wheatbelt: Chris Lewis)

Mr Cole said using technology developed by Curtin University lupin protein could be extracted in a form where it could have a range of meat-alternative applications.

“But it was very hard to get the right structure of the lupin in a ground or powdered form to make something that had the right mouth feel and taste, so we needed some technology that could unlock that.

“When you’re cooking, gelling and thickening allows you to bind things together, and that’s what this technology allows you to do; it allows you to insert the lupin protein in a deeper matrix of carbohydrates and sugars so you can make a nice, tasty, soft mouth-feel product.

“It’s proven and patented technology, they’ve done it in the lab, now we’re taking it up to the next point where WOA is a key partner, getting it into a food-grade lab to make enough of it so that we can then do product development and market testing.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here