An extensive research program using modified lupin protein (MLP) concentrate made by Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) has produced a number of early-stage food and drink prototypes.
Led by Curtin University, the research has confirmed MLP can be added to the newly-launched OatUp oat milk as well as udon noodles to increase protein levels and lower the glycaemic index (GI) of both products.
Plans are now underway to develop and launch a protein-enhanced oat milk as a new variant to the original OatUp line, as well as a high-protein, low-GI udon noodle.
Wide Open managing director Ben Cole said the discovery is a major step towards confirming the commercial viability of using MLP across the plant-based food and beverage sectors.
“Developing these early-stage food prototypes is a critical step towards commercialisation as it unlocks the possibility for global food manufacturers to develop and launch their own products using MLP as a key ingredient,” he said.
“It also accelerates our ability to develop, launch and market multiple plant-based protein products under our Dirty Clean Food brand.”
Curtin’s research would provide “critical data and building blocks” for Wide Open to transition into consumer product development across five food and beverage categories including plant-based meat, non-dairy milk alternatives, noodles, plant-based snacks and protein supplements.
“The outcomes are expected to reduce the time required for future product development work and the scale-up required towards commercial production of food and drink products for wholesale and retail distribution,” Mr Cole said.
Wide Open is in the final stages of consideration regarding pilot-scale food processing plants for inhouse product development.
Wide Open’s patented MLP concentrate forms a matrix using additional gelation mixtures which can then be used to create plant-based and gluten-free alternative foods.
Oat and lupin protein balls have already been developed and marketed online, and Mr Cole said an early-stage plant-based burger matrix had also displayed good qualities of texture and gelation.
Other meat alternatives such as plant-based sausage, chicken and mince would be the subject of future studies.
Research has also confirmed that MLP concentrate in soluble powder form can be used for protein enrichment in hot drinks or as a supplement for sports beverages.
Mr Cole said it was a “highly encouraging outcome” and the company would investigate if additional supplements and vitamins could be incorporated to create a plant-based protein powder for sports drinks.
MLP forms a gel-like matrix using additional gelation mixtures which can then be used to create plant-based yoghurt, cheese and mayonnaise products.
Oat and lupin protein balls have also been developed and are now available for purchase on dirtycleanfood.com.au.