Wide Open Agriculture secures breakthrough European lupin protein deal

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By Colin Hay - 
Wide Open Agriculture ASX WOA lupin protein Germany

Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA) has made a major breakthrough in its European market expansion plans with the sale and delivery of its first order of lupin protein isolate.

The order was led by the company’s subsidiary WOA Germany and follows a design win in the non-dairy category, a key market for the early adoption of lupin protein.

WOA Germany has multiple design wins in the non-dairy category, including in cheeses, spreads and creamers.

Wide Open Agriculture also recently showcased its portfolio of lupin-based proteins at the important Frankfurt at Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) event during November, where it was able to feature its premier Buntine Protein, LP90 (90% protein isolate powder) and LP20 (20% liquid protein concentrate) products.

A ‘momentous’ achievement

“This is a truly momentous achievement by our team in such a short period of time. It speaks to the powerful commercial potential for lupin protein in Europe,” Wide Open Agriculture chief executive officer Jay Albany said.

“I’m proud of the hard work put in by our wonderful teams in Australia and Germany. The first sale is a big milestone which not only validates our innovative product range, but also highlights our successful integration of the Prolupin business.”

“We believe this is just the beginning. We’re excited about the future as we continue to make strides in providing sustainable and high-quality lupin protein products to the world.”

Prolupin acquisition paying off

Mr Albany said the sale also represents the successful integration of the Prolupin business into the company’s operations.

In early October, Wide Open Agriculture entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of the leading European lupin protein producer.

The purchase consideration included Prolupin’s advanced manufacturing facility, the patents to produce the Prolupin protein isolate, the “Luve” trademark, an inventory of finished Prolupin protein products, as well as a supply of raw materials including lupins.

Immediate operational footprint

The acquisition also provided Wide Open Agriculture with an immediate operational footprint in Europe, with Prolupin’s facility to be modified to produce the company’s Buntine Protein.

The facility is expected to reach 1,000 tonnes per annum production.

Mr Albany said Wide Open Agriculture expects to see continued European growth in 2024 as the company’s design wins move from development into retail products.

He said WOA Germany will continue to work to convert its pipeline into sales, with products containing the company’s lupin proteins expected to be on-shelf in leading regional grocers including Albert Heijn.

As part of that transformation, Wide Open Agriculture has ordered and received the key equipment required to produce Buntine Protein in Germany and is on track to produce and sell it in the European nation during the first quarter of 2024.

Distribution agreement signed

At the end of November, Wide Open Agriculture reached a milestone agreement with the Ingå Group to distribute its unique product in Europe.

Under a non-binding term-sheet agreement, Ingå Group has become the exclusive distributor of the company’s portfolio of lupin-based proteins in Europe.

Ingå is a subsidiary of leading Swedish family-owned business Axel Johnson, which specialises in collaborating with partners in areas such as food, energy, health and industry.

Wide Open Agriculture is looking to leverage Ingå’s extensive network and expertise to bring Buntine Protein to new markets.

Ingå has also agreed to invest $825,000 in WOA Germany to support the company’s capability expansion in Europe.

Wide Open Agriculture believes the proposed investment is a significant vote of confidence in the company and its strategy for continued growth across the plant-based sector.