Final door open for pro­tein pow­der

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

The Wim­mera has the final green light to be­come the launch­ing pad for a new mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar plant-pro­tein in­dus­try.

Aus­tralian Plant Pro­teins will start a $20-mil­lion fit-out of its plant in Hor­sham’s En­ter­prise Es­tate this month af­ter se­cur­ing in­vest­ment from Mel­bourne Aus­tralasian food-man­u­fac­tur­ing firm Scalzo Foods.

It ex­pects to start com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of high-pro­tein pow­der, ex­tracted from broad­acre pulse crops, in the first quar­ter of 2020.

The plant will be Aus­tralia’s first ma­jor com­mer­cial plant-pro­tein ex­trac­tion fa­cil­ity.

Aus­tralian Plant Pro­teins, APP, has de­vel­oped a pro­pri­etary ex­trac­tion process to cre­ate the high-value pro­tein pow­ders.

The pow­der has broad in­ter­na­tional ap­pli­ca­tion across a vast range of food

and bev­er­age prod­uct cat­e­gories. The com­pany, cre­ated by in­vest­ment firm EAT Group in 2016, al­ready op­er­ates a pro­duc­tion and re­search and de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­ity in Wer­ribee.

It has a close as­so­ci­a­tion with and un­der­stand­ing of the re­gion through Brim-raised EAT Group di­rec­tor Phil Mc­far­lane.

APP di­rec­tor and co-founder Bren­dan Mc­k­ee­gan said in­vest­ment from Scalzo Foods pro­vided cap­i­tal and dis­tri­bu­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties to meet the com­pany’s tar­get of full com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion in early 2020.

“We welcome the in­vest­ment from Scalzo Foods, a highly re­spected, fam­ily-owned and run food-man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness with op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia and New Zealand,” he said.

“APP process yields an ex­tract con­tain­ing more than 85 per­cent pro­tein. This is far higher than many other al­ter­na­tive pro­tein sources.

“Com­bined with favourable sen­sory and taste el­e­ments, this has en­abled APP to generate sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional de­mand for the prod­uct as a key in­gre­di­ent for a range of foods and bev­er­ages in­clud­ing meat al­ter­na­tives, pro­tein bars and shakes, snack foods and non-dairy bev­er­ages.

“Since we cre­ated this busi­ness, the global de­mand for high-qual­ity, al­ter­na­tive sources of pro­tein has exploded off the back of peo­ple’s de­sire for greater sus­tain­abil­ity in the de­vel­op­ment of the food and bev­er­age prod­ucts they con­sume.”

Faba beans

APP will base its ini­tial com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing fo­cus on faba beans, which grain­grow­ers across the re­gion com­monly use as ro­ta­tional crops to re­plen­ish ni­tro­gen in soil.

“This is a great story at both ends of the food sup­ply chain,” Mr Mc­k­ee­gan said.

“For farm­ers, we cre­ate an al­ter­na­tive to the global pulse and legume com­mod­ity mar­kets, while for con­sumers we generate a value-added food in­gre­di­ent which is 100 per­cent grown and man­u­fac­tured in Aus­tralia.”

Scalzo Foods manag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Scalzo said plant pro­teins were a vi­tal mix in Aus­tralian agri­cul­tural food pro­duc­tion.

He added that APP pro­vided an ideal in­vest­ment in value-added man­u­fac­tur­ing of a com­mod­ity grown in abun­dance in Aus­tralia.

“Plant pro­teins are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in global food-sup­ply chains, not just to cater for in­creased pop­u­lar­ity of ve­gan and veg­e­tar­ian pref­er­ences, but as a sus­tain­able op­tion to feed the world’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

“It also pro­vides a vi­able and im­me­di­ately avail­able sec­ondary in­come stream to farm­ers who use pulses and legumes as a vi­tal part of ro­ta­tional crop­ping.

“Most im­por­tantly, it is vi­tal for Aus­tralian busi­nesses to de­velop these value-add in­dus­tries to es­tab­lish our rep­u­ta­tion as an in­no­va­tive and sig­nif­i­cant provider of food and high-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents to global mar­kets.”

Wim­mera De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion has played a key role in pro­mot­ing the con­cept of pulse-pro­tein-pow­der ex­trac­tion and de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion.

It cre­ated a busi­ness case for the pro­posal with Wim­mera Grains Clus­ter af­ter 2011 observatio­ns of high-pro­tein con­cen­tra­tions in by-prod­ucts pro­duced in the clean­ing and pro­cess­ing of pulses.

Re­search es­tab­lished the scale of raw pro­duce avail­able at mar­ket base and global trend data con­firmed the op­por­tu­nity.

The busi­ness case at the time was based on cap­tur­ing about 20 per­cent of an $80-mil­lion to $90-mil­lion im­ported pro­tein mar­ket and then con­sid­er­ing other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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