Victorian company Australian Plant Proteins was recently featured on ABC Landline in an in-depth segment examining how the company’s growing capacity to process locally grown crops corresponds with growing demand for plant proteins in Australia.  

Company founders discussed the early success of their Horsham facility, open for just over a year, and shared their vision for future growth in response to demand across many food categories increasingly requiring plant protein ingredients. . 

As the only plant-protein fractionation facility currently operating in Australia, Australian Plant Proteins co-founder Phil McFarlane said the company has experienced significant interest and is just keeping up with demand. Co-founder Brendan McKeegan credited the company’s proprietary extraction process to producing a high-quality protein isolate that’s inspired repeat demand amongst manufacturers of plant-based meat alternatives, alternative dairy products and sports nutrition products. 

Landline also explored Australian Plant Proteins’ contribution to economic development  in the Wimmera Region around Horsham, with McKeegan saying the company will employ 50 people once the plant expansion is complete. 

Local grain growers called the plant’s provision of a new market for their pulse crops a welcome development for the Wimmera, while also considering the broader opportunity at hand:
“This area doesn’t have a lot of value-adding for its produce; so having a plant like this in our backyard not only gives us employment opportunities, but also gives us something that we can build on and hopefully become world leaders at,” David Jochinke, a Wimmera grains farmer explained.

Andrew Saunders, who runs local grain miller JK Milling, explained how recent challenges in exporting related to decreasing availability and high costs for  shipping containers  is making it risky to rely on export markets. “If we can add more value to the product locally here, it’s taking the risk away from the export side of it, so we’re diversifying,” he said. 
“It’s a fantastic investment in a regional economy, to have people showing that amount of confidence in our region. We’ve got excellent agriculture products, but to have some manufacturers move in like this and spend this amount of money, it’s huge. It’s a game changer for our region.” 

With the pilot plant now running at full capacity and demand continuing to increase, Australian Plant Proteins will expand the plant’s size and capacity by 60%, thanks in part to a recent $45.7M investment from major agri-food company Bunge. The next stage of expansion will focus on sustainability, with the plant to use renewable power and recycled water. 

READ MORE: Turning grains and legumes into protein rich powder [ABC Landline]