Quarterly results posted by Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) have shown continued revenue growth and achievements, moving the regenerative food and farming company closer towards the launch of new products for the high-growth food and beverage sectors.
Revenue for the quarter hit $571,928 and reflected increasing sales of the company’s Dirty Clean Food brand within its local West Australian market.
It represented an increase of 49% on the previous three-month period.
Progress was also made towards launching Dirty Clean Food into new domestic regions as well as South East Asia.
Wide Open’s online sales experienced an increase in new and repeat customers for the period, with approximately 125 orders processed each week and revenue growing 175% to $232,033.
Sales to food service and wholesale customers showed emerging signs of recovery post-COVID-19, allowing the company to secure a number of new retail store accounts.
Managing director Dr Ben Cole said improvements had been identified to potentially unlock further online sales efficiencies and improve margins as the business scales.
“We have built and maintained a healthy online business and see a growing base of loyal customers, demonstrating the power of our online platform to connect regenerative food to conscious consumers,” he said.
“Sales momentum is anticipated to continue across 2020 as demand for our products continues to grow and we focus on launching in new markets.”
New deals with regenerative and ethical food producers allowed Wide Open to expand and diversify its online product offering during the quarter.
It launched a partnership with leading Perth chefs and developed a range of ready-to-go meals made with locally-sourced ingredients to bring restaurant quality meals direct to consumers’ doors.
The company also joined Bridge2Food, Europe’s leading plant-based partnership and network group designed to inspire the food industry to collaborate, partner, and to create innovative solutions.
“Further expanding and selling our multi-division food products will remain a key priority to increase online revenue,” Dr Cole said.
“We also plan to resume in-store promotional activities as COVID-19 restrictions ease further.”
In May, Wide Open signed an agreement with Curtin University for the development of a proprietary Australian sweet lupin protein technology.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) joined the project in June to establish pilot-scale commercial production and provide a techno-economic assessment.
Work has already begun working towards refining the production process, which converts raw lupin into a viable protein for the production of plant-based food products.
Wide Open has also commenced early stage discussions with European and North American food companies in relation to the technology.
Plant-based protein is used to make alternatives to the meat, dairy, beverage and egg sectors.
The global market for plant-based protein was estimated at $25.8 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow at 14% per year to reach $56.5 billion by 2025.
Oat milk formulation
During the quarter, Wide Open received the final formulation for a regenerative plant-based oat milk from its European manufacturer.
Laboratory testing confirmed the recipe meets Dirty Clean Food’s nutritional criteria and it received encouraging feedback from local baristas, retailers and distributors during market evaluation.
Product packaging and market campaign concepts are now in the final development stages and discussions with WA and eastern states’ distributors are underway.
Wide Open was also awarded a $20,000 government grant to support a feasibility study into the construction of a plant-based milk production facility using oats from WA farms committed to regenerative principles.
In early June, Wide Open said it would use $3 million raised through the issue of 11 million shares at $0.27 each to focus on accelerating the sales of regenerative meat; expand and diversify its product offering online; and develop oat milk and plant-based protein products for Australian and global markets.
The capital raising brought the company’s cash position at the end of the quarter to $4.4 million.
Dr Cole said the funds would be adequate to carry Wide Open’s operations through current economic uncertainties.