Regenerative food and farming company Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) has received board approval to purchase, construct and operate an in-house lupin and plant-based protein manufacturing facility in Western Australia.
The $1.6 million pilot plant is expected to be built near to the company’s Dirty Clean Food operations in Perth’s southern industrial suburb of Kewdale.
It will be used to refine the lupin production process; protect existing intellectual property and develop new IP; as well as produce pilot-scale, food-grade quantities of modified lupin protein.
Wide Open expects to generate a modest revenue stream from the plant and enhance opportunities of securing commercial partnerships and offtake agreements.
The plant will be fully-funded by the company’s $12.8 million cash at bank and revenue is anticipated to offset all operational costs.
Managing director Dr Ben Cole said the facility would offer “unmatched global capability and know-how” in the production of lupin-based proteins with a unique techno-function sourced from WA’s leading regenerative farmers.
One of the key objectives of the pilot plant is to build internal proprietary knowledge and refine Wide Open’s IP for use in multiple applications of modified lupin protein.
It will include the creation of an IP portfolio tailored to end-product applications including plant-based burgers, drinks (such as the new-to-market protein-enriched OatUP alternative milk), yoghurts and gluten-free noodles.
Dr Cole said the plant would become critical in investigating different protein extraction processes which could potentially become less costly and more eco-friendly through reduced use of energy, water and chemicals.
Other plant inputs
Wide Open will also target opportunities to apply its technology to other plant inputs, including regenerative pulses grown in WA and across the nation such as chickpeas, lentils and fava beans.
Additional pulses will expand the total available market potential of the company’s proprietary modification technology, and build on the protein’s reputation for employing state-of-the-art, clean production processes.
It will also de-risks the pilot plant project, as other textured plant proteins have an existing market with unmet supply requirements.