GrainCorp partners with CSIRO and v2food on $4.4m plant-based protein research


GrainCorp, CSIRO, and plant-based food producer v2food have partnered on a $4.4million research project in the fast-growing plant-based protein market.

The partnership will focus on developing Australian processing and manufacturing capabilities in order to reduce dependency on imported ingredients and increase the value of grains and oilseeds for use in new products.

GrapinCorp, which is looking to establish domestic manufacturing and supply chains for plant-based protein ingredients as a major exporter, received funding from the Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Program, to separate and manufacture proteins from canola, soy, and fava beans and chickpeas at commercial volumes.

GrainCorp Managing Director and CEO Robert Spurway said the partners would “identify infrastructure needs for commercialization” and put Australian grains and oilseeds growers at the forefront of the global plant protein market.

“Global consumer trends are driving demand for plant protein and it represents an attractive opportunity for Australian agriculture,” he said.

“We are well placed to participate in the plant protein boom and we are confident the sector can comfortably co-exist, and indeed flourish, alongside our essential animal protein industry.

“Our partnership aims to create a commercial plant protein supply chain that benefits Aussie growers and food and aquafeed manufacturers, as well as consumers.

“We’ll be able to access new export markets and meet growing domestic demand while creating jobs and informing future research and development into high-quality plant varieties.”

The collaboration will focus on enhancing GrainCorp’s existing plant protein capabilities at its oilseed processing facility in Numurkah, Victoria.

The partnership will benefit from CSIRO’s expertise in research, food technology, agronomy, and genetics.

Professor Michelle Colgrave, who specializes in protein research and oversees the CSIRO Future Protein Mission, believes the three organizations’ combined research power will help Australia achieve speedier results.

“We grow many plant crops in Australia but typically export these as commodities. If we can add value through product development, research, and processing, we can export them at a higher price,” Prof Colgrave said.

“The project will be a game-changer for Australian food manufacturers, including small-to-medium enterprises that can leverage our research to deliver new products for consumers.”

v2food CEO Nick Hazell said the research supported “a thriving Australian agricultural and value-added manufacturing sector”.

“It is important for the sector to operate at scale, and with end-to-end domestic capability, which will create resilience and boost global competitiveness,” Mr Hazell continued.

“We are assessing options across the plant protein spectrum, including in soy protein, to potentially replace imported soy protein concentrate with locally produced production and processing.”

According to GrapinCorp’s statement, the research project is expected to culminate in 2023 following a staged approach to process development, pilot scale protein fractionation, sensory evaluation, and product application.

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