As someone with a penchant for oat milk lattes, Wide Open Agriculture’s (ASX: WOA) announcement today was music to my ears.
The regenerative food and agriculture company develops and distributes food products with a focus on conscious consumers.
They have today announced the results of a three month intensive research exercise conducted at Curtin University in Western Australia, led by food scientist and co-inventor of their latest product, Dr. Stuart Johnson. The research has yielded a number of early-stage food and drink prototypes incorporating WOA’s proprietary Modified Lupin Protein (MLP) concentrate.
Lupin is known for its high protein and fibre content. Western Australia is the world’s largest producer and exporter of the crop which adds an estimated $120-150 million to Western Australia’s economy per year.
WOA’s concentrate has now been confirmed to have potential across five food and beverage categories, encompassing a multi billion dollar market.
MLP has been successfully added to WOA’s oat milk product OatUP to increase protein content. Following encouraging feedback on the enhanced version of the product, discussions are already underway to rapidly develop and commercialise this alternative option which will stand alongside the existing, traditional OatUP product. The global oat milk market is estimated to be worth USD $38 billion by 2024. Oat milk sales are quickly outpacing other plant-based alternatives, growing by 108% last year, while almond and soy milk sales plateaued. (Probably largely due to people like me stocking up when the specials roll around, let’s be honest.)
MLP can also form a stable emulsion gel, providing a base for plant based yogurt, cheese, tofu, mayonnaise and increasingly popular plant-based meats. Early stage prototypes have proven that MLP is more cohesive than soy and demonstrated good qualities in terms of taste and texture. Leading brands in this space such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are valued at USD$7.5 billion and USD$4 billion respectively, and WOA wants a piece of the USD $28 billion dollar market share.
MLP can also become a soluble powder and therefore has potential for use as a protein supplement. The Company has also created lupin based protein balls, now available for purchase from their own brand, Dirty Clean Food.
These findings constitute a major step towards confirming the commercial viability of MLP and accelerates WOA’s ability to launch their own plant based products under their brand.