Wide Open Agriculture enters lucrative Japanese market with Nissei Kyoeki collaboration

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By Colin Hay - 
Wide Open Agriculture ASX WOA Buntine protein Japan Nissei Kyoeki food supplements nutrition

Leading Australian regenerative food specialist Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) has opened up a new avenue for the distribution of its specialised Buntine Protein product, signing an initial agreement with Japanese trading house Nissei Kyoeki.

Nissei Kyoeki has a history of more than 90 years as a trading company specialising in food materials including the protein sector and its collaboration with Wide Open Agriculture has the potential to significantly expand the Australian company’s international business strategy.

Wide Open Agriculture chief executive officer Jay Albany said that Nissei’s global network, strong focus on product development and an increasing interest in plant-based proteins makes the Tokyo-headquartered company an ideal partner.

“We are thrilled to partner with Nissei, a leader in the food sector with a formidable presence in over 30 countries,” Mr Albany said.

“This collaboration is a milestone in our journey to expand the reach of Buntine Protein. Nissei’s expertise and extensive network provide an invaluable platform to introduce our innovative lupin proteins to discerning customers in Japan and beyond.”

Wide Open Agriculture and Nissei have agreed to collaborate to develop the market for lupin-based proteins in Japan, with the Australian firm initially supplying its Japanese partner with Buntine Protein samples from its Kewdale facility in Western Australia for evaluation by Japanese customers.

The company recently began selling its first direct orders of Buntine Protein out of Kewdale and its first order of Prolupin’s isolate LP90 was shipped during December.

Evolving food trends

Nissei says the partnership marks an exciting new chapter as it continues to explore and embrace the evolving trends in the food industry.

“Wide Open Agriculture’s commitment to sustainable, plant-based solutions resonates with our vision for the future and we are confident that Buntine Protein will be well-received by our extensive clientele, further enhancing our diverse product portfolio,” a company spokesperson stated.

In a recent letter to shareholders, Mr Albany said Wide Open Agriculture’s top priority for the new year was converting its pipeline of expertise, assets and projects into sales and this new agreement is an impressive step in that direction.

“This agreement is a testament to Wide Open Agriculture’s successful strategy of securing sales and distribution partners in key markets. It reflects the company’s approach to engage with future customers while concurrently working towards commercial scale production.”

Continued expansion

Wide Open Agriculture has also recently secured exclusive sales partners in major markets including the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

In 2024, Wide Open Agriculture is looking to grow its position in a soy-protein market valued in excess of $10 billion in 2023, with pea-protein soon expected to exceed $3b.

Mr Albany told shareholders that, while Wide Open Agriculture is a new entrant in the soy- and pea-protein markets, it is bringing a differentiation strategy to commodity proteins that require the inclusion of other ingredients to achieve the taste, texture, gelation and solubility requirements for recipe development.

The initial term of the Nissei agreement is one year, with automatic renewal for additional one-year periods unless either party provides written notice of termination at least 90 days prior to the end of the period.