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Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA) - Managing Director, Ben Cole - The Market Herald
Managing Director, Ben Cole
Source: Wide Open Agriculture
  • In a new investor presentation, Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) has detailed its plan to take lupin and create a plant-based protein
  • It comes as climate change, animal-welfare concerns and wellness interest drive consumers to look for alternative sources of protein in their diets
  • Wide Open says it has the 'first-mover advantage' to develop a lupin-based protein that can be used to create alternative meat, dairy, beverage and convenience food products
  • The current market for lupin is valued at around A$200 million, with 96 per cent of it consumed by livestock
  • Significantly, 60 per cent of the global supply of lupin is produced in Western Australia
  • Now, Wide Open has teamed up with Curtin University, CSIRO and Process Partners to develop the protein
  • The company is preparing for a pilot trial next month
  • Company shares are up 28.7 per cent on the market this afternoon and is trading for 83 cents per share

In a new investor presentation, Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) has detailed its plan to take lupin and create a plant-based protein.

It comes as climate change, animal-welfare concerns and wellness interest drive consumers to look for alternative sources of protein in their diets. Significantly, global protein consumption has risen 40 per cent between 2000 and 2018 — and more than 50 per cent of this increase came from Asia.

This shift is giving large commercial companies the opportunity to develop and launch plant-based alternative within the meat, dairy and beverage and egg sectors.

The plant-based meat industry is currently worth US$12.1 billion (roughly A$16.98 billion) and is expected to be US$28 billion (around A$39.3 billion) in 2025. Meanwhile, the non-dairy milk industry is worth US$21.4 billion (approximately A$30.03 billion) and is expected to hit US$38 billion (around A$53.33 billion) in 2024.

What's the difference between plant-based meat and ordinary meat?

The plant-based industry uses 46 per cent less energy and 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than the meat industry.

Going plant-based will also use 93 per cent less land than the meat industry and 99 per cent less water.

According to Wide Open, eating plant-based improves taste and general health.

"The shift towards plant-based diets has been predominantly driven by
consumer concern surrounding health, wellbeing and animal welfare," the company told the market.

However, it is more expensive to eat plant-based, with plant-based shoppers spending 61 per cent more than the average shopper.

Other forms of protein

Existing plant protein sources include pea, soy, lentils, chickpeas, mycoprotein and seeds (such as hemp and chia).

Pea protein is gaining traction due to its minimal cost and environmental impact. Meanwhile, soy is the highest-value alternative protein currently in commercial production.

What is Wide Open doing with sweet lupin?

Wide Open says it has the "first-mover advantage" to develop a lupin-based protein that can be used to create alternative meat, dairy, beverage and convenience food products.

Lupin is one of the highest sources of plant protein available at 40 per cent, as well as a high source dietary fibre of 37 per cent.

The current market for lupin is valued at around $200 million, with 96 per cent of this consumed by livestock. However, 60 per cent of the global supply of lupin is produced in Western Australia.

Commercial strategy

The company has a three-point commercial strategy — it will build, supply and launch.

Build supply chain

Wide Open plans to secure commercial quantities of lupin from farmers who are committed to regenerative farming principles.

It plans to develop a processing facility and logistics infrastructures to become a globally competitive plant-based food brand from WA.

Supply other brands

In the second part of the commercial strategy, the company aims to sign supply agreements with established plant-based protein brands and offer lupin as a key ingredient.

Food manufacturers can then develop and launch their own products globally.

Launch products

The last part of the strategy involves launching the products. It will develop, launch and market plant-based protein products under the Dirty Clean Food brand.

Wide Open will offer these products to customers across its online portal, retail and distribution networks.

How will WOA do this?

WOA has teamed up with Curtin University, CSIRO and Process Partners to develop the plant-based protein.

Wide Open is already in stage two of its development process after it secured 200 kilograms of lupin for its pilot program. The lupin is being shipped to CSIRO.

Once CSIRO receives the lupin, it will produce a food-grade commercial lupin product that will be used for testing and developing plant-based meat.

The pilot trial is scheduled to commence next month.

Wide Open said there has been a big surge in the investment of plant-based foods. In 2019, US$747 million (approximately A$1.05 billion) was invested in the industry, but in the first quarter of 2020 alone, US$741 (around A$104 billion) has already been invested.

Company shares are up 28.7 per cent on the market this afternoon and is trading for 83 cents per share at 1:41 pm AEST.


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